The PJ Tatler

Grandmother of 10 Holds Off Burglar with .32 Until Police Arrive

Here’s a feel-good story for you on a rather blustery early spring day here in Chicago.

A grandmother of 10 confronted and held off a burglar, even firing a warning shot as she held him at gunpoint until police arrived.


Sandra Mize has a motto: “You don’t get do-overs.”

That’s why the 63-year-old grandmother of 10 keeps a gun by her bed, a canister of mace in her living room, and reinforces the doors in her north Spokane home with deadbolt locks and metal jambs before she goes to sleep every night.

Her preparedness may have saved her life just after midnight Wednesday when she held off a burglar – at one point firing a wayward shot at the intruder – until police arrived.

Mize knows gun use and property crime are hotly debated issues. The break-in occurred nine days after a car thief was shot and killed by the car’s owner about a mile away from her home.

“I could let my car drive down the block,” Mize said. “That doesn’t bother me. Someone in my home bothers me.”

Mize was asleep in her single-story home along the 2000 block of East Dalton Avenue when she heard someone bust through her back door, bending her door braces and shattering the steel-paneled door’s wooden frame.

She grabbed the .22-caliber handgun she keeps by her bed and ran into her dark living room to see the silhouette of a man in her kitchen.

Separated from the man by only a kitchen counter, Mize warned the intruder she was armed.

“He just kept coming,” Mize said. “I didn’t hesitate to shoot.”

Police Chief Frank Straub acknowledged that in Mize’s case, “Having a firearm in your home for personal protection, I guess we got to see the value of that last night.”

Yes, I guess. Please contact President Obama and tell him the same thing.

Keeping the gun aimed at him, Mize inched her way along her living room wall, around a chair and picked up a telephone from an end table. She dialed 911.

“I told them, ‘I have an intruder, I’m armed, and I have discharged my gun,'” Mize said.

Within two minutes, police had surrounded her home. The officers on her porch told her to put down her gun, so she set it on top of an antique sewing machine she uses as a TV stand.

That’s when the man took off. Rising from the sofa, he tried to flee through the back door, Mize said.

A police dog was there to greet him.

Mize, who stands 5’1″ and has arthritis in her hands, hadn’t shot the gun in 30 years and was worried the gun wouldn’t fire. She told the cops that the bullets in her gun were older than they were.

If she lived in Chicago, Mize would probably be arrested and charged with, at the very least, violating gun laws.

A neighbor had this to say about her:

“She’s a little lady, and she’s soft-spoken and she’s got a great laugh,” neighbor and longtime friend Brooke Plastino said. “But I wouldn’t want to cross her, frankly.”

What he said.