Long Grove homeowner shoots at would-be intruder

A would-be burglar who narrowly missed being shot by a Long Grove homeowner remained in the Lake County jail Friday.

Erik G. Mota, 28, of the 800 block of Westmoreland Drive, Vernon Hills, was held on $5,000 bail on charges of attempted residential burglary and two counts of burglary to motor vehicle in connection with events reported about 4 a.m. Thursday.

Detective Christopher Covelli, a Lake County sheriff's office spokesman, said deputies were called to a house on the 3000 block of Country Lane for a report of a burglary in progress.

According to Covelli, the male homeowner was sleeping on a couch in an office area in the basement when he heard someone trying to enter through a window. The intruder also had tried to get in a side door, Covelli said.

The male resident retrieved a semi-automatic pistol and fired at the intruder identified by authorities as Mota.

"He (the resident) fired four times. One of the rounds appears to have struck Mota in the pants leg, one of the rounds hit Mota's vehicle and the other two missed," Covelli said.

Mota ran to his vehicle, which was parked nearby, and struck a large decorative rock while driving away, Covelli said. Area police departments were alerted and a short time later, Vernon Hills police responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle on the 800 block of Westmoreland Drive and found Moto changing a flat tire. He was identified as the suspect in the Long Grove burglary and taken into custody.

According to Covelli, the homeowner's wife called 911 saying someone was trying to break into the house and the male took over the call after Mota had fled.

Covelli said Mota burglarized two vehicles in the driveway before trying to break into the house. Items had been removed from the cars and were stacked nearby as if they were going to be taken from the area but that had not occurred before the encounter with the homeowner, Covelli said.

Charges were not pending against the homeowner.

"Ultimately, that's a decision the state's attorney makes in cases like this - the defense of property or life," Covelli said. "At this point, the homeowner is not being charged."

A court date was set for Nov. 16.

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