Tampa, FL – A burglary suspect found himself being held at gunpoint by a pastor after breaking into a Florida church early Thursday morning.
The burglar, later identified as 49-year-old Miguel Otero-Rivera, smashed out a window of Seminole Heights Baptist Church with a brick just before 1 a.m., WTVT reported.
He then entered the building, and began rifling through offices in the church, possibly in search of cash.
Pastor Brant Adams, who lives near the church, was notified about the potential break-in by the alarm company.
He grabbed his gun, made his way over to the place of worship, and spotted Otero-Rivera inside holding one of the church’s laptop computers.
“I walked in and I saw him coming out of the director of Mission Tampa’s office with his back to me,” Adams told WTVT. “He’s looking down at his hand, and I didn’t know what he had in his hand, so I pulled the gun through the window.”
The armed pastor then began issuing commands from a position of semi-cover.
“I sort of stood behind the door but where he could see me,” he explained. “I took the gun, pointed at him, and told him to get down. I yelled at him and said ‘Hey, get down!’ He put his hands up, went to the ground.”
Adams held the suspect at gunpoint from about 10 feet away for several minutes while he waited for police to arrive.
“He didn’t fight or nothing,” the pastor told WFLA. “He immediately laid down and stayed there.”
Otero-Rivera was arrested on multiple charges, including grand theft, burglary, possession of heroin, possession of a burglary tool, and possession of drug paraphernalia, WTSP reported.
A trail of blood was found throughout church due to the suspect cutting his back on the broken glass, but there were no other injuries as a result of the incident, Adams told WTVT.
Otero-Rivera also shattered other windows in the building, and busted down doors, causing thousands of dollars in damages, WFLA reported.
“The simple message is if you need help, ask for it. You don’t need to steal,” the pastor told WTVT. “There’s so many things that we try to do to help people. If he would’ve just come to the back door and knocked and ask for something, said, ‘I need some food.’ We would’ve given him some food.”
Adams said doesn’t ever want to be involved in a similar situation, but that he’s glad he was armed and able to subdue the suspect without a fight.