CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - 10/09/2018, 10:45 PM
Cabell County, WV Sheriff's deputies say a man broke into a house Tuesday, but instead of leaving with stolen property, he left with his hand nearly cut off by a machete.
Shannon Steele lives with his mother in a house in Blue Sulphur Gardens in Ona, West Virginia.
The telemarketer typically considers himself slow to violence.
"I don't even hunt," Steele said. "I've never shot an animal, except maybe a bird with a BB gun."
Over the last couple years, the self-described hippie says his house has been broken into four or five times.
"We lost about a thousand dollars worth of lawn equipment," he said.
He began to suspect his own friend, who lives in a mobile home park across the street.
"I wanted to see if he was the one stealing my stuff, and sure enough he is," Steele said.
Tuesday morning he told his friend on the phone that he wasn't home.
"I told him I was at my brother's in Proctorville," Steele said.
Then he waited inside and says sadly, his suspicion was confirmed.
"The sad thing is he knows my dog, so my dog doesn't attack," Steele said.
Steele says his friend kicked a side door in. A footprint was still visible on the door Tuesday afternoon.
Steele grabbed a machete that was in his room and started swinging. He says he was "swinging like crazy" and yelling at the suspect to leave.
Steele says after he hit the suspect around the wrist with the machete, the suspect took off running. The sheriff says the suspect's hand was nearly cut off.
Steele says he'd bought bicycles for he and his friend just a couple weeks ago.
"I bought the dude a bike to ride with me, and he's gonna steal from me? That's crazy," he said.
Neighbors say thefts have become a big problem in the area, and they're relishing the thought that an accused burglar finally paid a price.
"That's what they used to do in the Middle East for people who would steal," neighbor Bruno Stankavich said.
Steele says he called 911 after the suspect ran off.
The sheriff says the suspect will likely be charged, and he says no charges are expected to be filed against Steele.
Steele says deputies took the machete with them.