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Citizen + Rifle = Burglar in Jail
No shots fired.

Originally ran here as:
"Man, 64, holds suspect with gun"

May 5, 2001
NewJerseyOnline Staff Writer

HAMILTON, NEW JERSEY -- A man returning from a stroll in a local garden came home yesterday to find one of his windows broken.

So Karl Provost, 64, of the 2000 block of Kuser Road got his gun.

"At that point, I didn't really know what I was dealing with and I felt more comfortable with a gun in my hand," Provost said. "That way, I knew no one was getting hurt . . . including me."

When Provost entered his bedroom brandishing the loaded gun -- a rifle, according to police -- he found a stranger rooting through his things, he said.

"The truth is, it wasn't any trouble," Provost said after yesterday's ordeal. "He saw the gun and said none of this is necessary . . . that he wasn't going to run."

Even so, Provost kept the rifle pointed at the thinly built man "who must have weighed only 120 pounds" and dialed 911, relating the situation to a dispatcher.

"There must have been a small army of cars here in nothing flat," Provost said from his home. "I was on the phone until the cops came in. You have to understand that the whole time, (he) was cooperating. The place was a mess, but basically, he was sitting on my stereo."

Police said yesterday the alleged burglar, whom they identified as Alfredo Gonzales, 40, of Magazine Street in Newark, did not steal anything from the home and cooperated with police. He was being held last night in the township lockup in lieu of bail, police said.

Gonzales was a construction worker in the area, police said.

Although he admitted he was "a bit shaken up," Provost said the incident was not a big deal. "Actually, it comes down on a very small scale," he said. "This turned out very good. All I ended up with was a busted window, and I'm fixing that now.

"But I wasn't scared," Provost said. "I tell you, the big thing that made life easy is that I read that the man wasn't violent and he said he wasn't violent. I was ready to go along with that."

Provost said the only item he was worried would be stolen was his computer, which he had been using to research heart disease, an illness he has battled many years. "Ten years ago, I couldn't walk a thousand feet, but recently I walked all over New York City," he said.

Provost said he was retracing the steps he took during the incident and realized he made several mistakes. "If this ever happens again, I'll handle it better," he said.

Police said the incident remains under investigation by Officer Brian Carvale and Detective Sgt. Joseph Mastropolo.

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