Pleasanton man opens fire on men trying to steal his SUV

Two men tried to steal an SUV in Pleasanton early Tuesday morning, leading the owner to open fire at them, after he was pepper-sprayed and said he heard a shot fired at him first, police said.

"It's like the wild wild West," said Jeffrey McFadden, who was awakened by the gunfire at the Canyon Meadow condo complex near I-580.

No one was reported hit by gunfire, which broke out about 4:45 a.m. after the resident, a registered gun owner, heard a noise outside, saw flashlights and confronted two men trying to steal his Dodge Durango, authorities said.

"He was pepper-sprayed, and hearing what he believed to be a shot, he had been armed with a gun and fired three shots," said Pleasanton police Sgt. Marty Billdt. 

Police said investigators aren't sure if the men had shot at the resident.

"There had been reports that there was an exchange of gunfire, however, we're trying to confirm that," Billdt said.

The resident declined to comment.

This is the second incident in the Tri-Valley area in which a resident opened fire at criminals. Just last week, a Danville man got into a shootout with robbers who had followed his fiancee and other women to his home.

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The would-be car thieves fled in a pickup truck.

Billdt said citizens should call police rather than confront assailants themselves.

"What we recommend is to not confront people that are breaking into cars or committing a crime, and to be a good witness," he said.