As he was coming home, the burglar was backing out of his driveway.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A township man's house was burglarized and ransacked. Now, he's turning the tables and hoping for community support in going after the invader.
John Bierdeman, 53, of Indianola Road, is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the burglar. He will also pay $100 to anyone who can locate the car used in the crime.
"I am going to be this guy's worst nightmare," said Bierdeman. "Whoever he is, this time he picked the wrong guy to mess with."
According to Bierdeman, he and his wife were heading home Saturday afternoon and were within 100 feet of his driveway when he pushed the remote control button to open his garage door.
Instead of an empty driveway and open garage door, they found a man backing out of the driveway.
Bierdeman told police he attempted to block the car with his vehicle, but the man backed into his car and tried to force his way out of the driveway. Bierdeman got out of the car and tried to confront the man, but the burglar backed the maroon car up again, almost hitting Bierdeman, and got away.
Bierdeman told police a Craftsman gas-powered leaf blower and holiday light projector were missing from inside the house. He said there also was a broken police statue and several rooms in disarray.
Takes action: Bierdeman, a former police officer who now owns an investigative company, said he felt like a victim immediately afterward, but by Monday morning, he was spreading the word about the reward through fliers and calls to radio talk shows.
"I refuse to be a victim and refuse to accept that citizens cannot make a difference. That type of attitude is what fuels crimes like this," said Bierdeman. "I have worked hard for what I have, and I am not going to be a victim to people who do not want to work."
Bierdeman said he is astonished at the brazen attitude of the man who broke into his house. He said the fact that the crime took place just after 4 p.m. on a weekend when it is likely that someone will be home and the dangerous way the man rammed his car to escape shows that the intruder places no value on the lives of others.
The crime has left Bierdeman's wife, Virginia, shaken and disappointed in the Youngstown area. His mother, who would visit frequently, now refuses to come to his home unless he's there.
He shudders to think what could have happened had his wife or mother caught the man inside the home.
Description: Bierdeman described the intruder as a black male in his early 30s, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with low-cut black hair. He was wearing dark clothes. The car is a large, older maroon model with heavy rear-end damage.
Bierdeman said any information can be forwarded to him at (330) 788-9900 or the Boardman Police Department.