Published Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:13AM EDT
A couple from Chilliwack, B.C. is so fed up with being the victims of property crime, they're ignoring the advice of police and attempting to take the law into their own hands by shooting paintballs at thieves.
Rob and Nicole Iezzi say they have been robbed of everything from iPods to hand tools and attachments for their truck. They say a friend's purse was also stolen from driveway, resulting in identity theft.
"This is a constant problem. It's an escalating problem in our town," Nicole Iezzi told CTV British Columbia.
Rob and Nicole Iezzi said they've done everything they could to ward off thieves, but are now firing paintball guns at them. June 11, 2014. (CTV)
She said thieves have also pepper-sprayed her in a bid to steal her cellphone, and clubbed their Rottweiler to death in the yard when it challenged them.
The couple say they call police after each incident, but don't believe any charges have ever been laid. They have set up security cameras, improved their fences, and put in better locks, but the thieves keep coming back.
So now they are shooting them with paint.
The couple has posted clips from their security footage online, showing them rushing out to challenge thieves and firing paint balls as the thieves ride away on bicycles.
Rob Iezzi says paint balls seemed like the best weapon to use.
"I didn't want to shoot him with a pellet gun, because you're going to make him bleed, like really bleed, like get stuff inside you and get infected," he explained. "You get hit with a paintball, it's like getting punched. I didn't want to punch him, so a paintball just seemed like the logical thing."
Paintballs also don't go through walls and don't risk hurting neighbours, he added.
But Chilliwack RCMP are warning that vigilante justice like that being practised by the Iezzis is both dangerous and potentially illegal.
Const. Tracey Wolbeck said she understands that crime victims can become frustrated. But she says shooting paintballs could escalate a non-violent property offence into a violent crime if the intruder then turns on the homeowners.
"We can't support that. They need to call us; we're the professionals. We have the tools to deal with that, the skills and the training to deal with that. These can be very volatile situations," she said.
Wolbeck also warned that attacking someone with a paintball could result in criminal charges.
"In extreme cases, we could see charges of assault, assault causing bodily harm, or in some cases, assault with a weapon," Wolbeck said.
But the Iezzis say the paintball guns have worked so far to scare some thieves off. They say they support the RCMP, but they want to see the thieves brought to justice.
Read more: B.C. couple fights back against thieves, with paintballs | CTV News