CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Police say doorbell ditching victim overreacted

Mar 12, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2024, 1:43 pm

doorbell ditching...

FILE: Motorists drive by the city sign in Eagle Mountain. A water main break will leave 30 homes without water. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Police say a doorbell ditching victim went too far when he fired a realistic-looking firearm at six teens inside a car across the street from the man’s home.

Police booked Eagle Mountain resident Michael Roberts, 70, into the Utah County Jail on Sunday for suspicion of aggravated assault and criminal mischief. 

Roberts allegedly fired a paintball-like handgun and plastic rounds from the weapon. It left “two significant dents” to one door of the car, a police officer at the scene said.

 

Don’t overreact, advises cop

Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office joined Dave & Dujanovic to discuss how Roberts acted within the law up until he discharged a weapon.

Roberts called law enforcement to investigate. He had a video doorbell camera that provided police with a vehicle description of the suspect vehicle.

Cannon said he understood Roberts’ frustration with the constant harassment.

“We have responded to several calls out there over the last couple of weeks of kids doorbell ditching this gentleman’s home, and we certainly understand the frustration there,” Cannon said.

If police caught the actual perpetrators in the act, he said, they could cite them for disturbing the peace or harassment.

Cannon added that sheriff’s deputies were patrolling the neighborhood in the evenings to search for the teen pranksters and their getaway car. Cannon said the teens Roberts allegedly fired upon said they thought the weapon was real. 

“There’s no justification for responding the way this gentleman apparently did by coming out and firing what these youth thought was a regular handgun [which] turns out not to be, but they did not know that,” Cannon said.

Also, Cannon said, the victims who were fired upon that night were not suspects in doorbell ditching Roberts’ residence.

“These kids that were victims in this case had not doorbell ditched him that night. He saw a car in front of his house. That’s when he went out and without saying anything to them or them saying anything to him. They had not come onto his property. They had not knocked on his door. He apparently began firing this BB-type gun.”

Listen to Dave & Dujanovic Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Police say doorbell ditching victim overreacted