Armed Louisville homeowner holds off suspect with gun and 150-pound Great Dane named 'Tank'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police say a homeowner with a gun and his 150-pound dog named Tank made Saturday night a long night for an unwelcome house guest. 

The sign at Derek Thomas' house says, "Nevermind the dog. Beware of the owner." It shows a gun. But that didn't keep the stranger away from Thomas' driveway Saturday night.

"Yeah, he was up to no good, definitely," Thomas said.

That night, Thomas was locking up after watching a late-night football game, when he noticed a shadow lurking outside his home on Pendleton Road.

"I saw him come from here," Thomas said, pointing to where he said the shadow was standing by his truck. "He grabbed this door handle, and that door handle."

Thomas' wife and three children of ages 3, 7 and 9, were all asleep inside, so he went outside, barefoot.

"As I pulled my gun on him, I said, 'What the hell are you doing in my truck? Get out of my truck!' and he crawled back out and basically tried to crawl around the back," Thomas said. "He did stand up, but when I shot the gun two times, he went back to the ground and stayed good."

Thomas says he fired into the air on his 10 acre property and stopped the stranger before anything was taken. Then he told his wife to call 911 and bring out backup: the family's Great Dane named "Tank."

"He started barking and go crazy," said Thomas. "I said, 'You hear that? That's my 150-pound dog, and I'm not chasing you, but if you run he's going to catch you.'"

Thomas posted the pictures of Matthew Conklin's arrest to Facebook, saying he was carrying $3,500. Police say they found capped needles, heroin and a small bag of suspected meth in his pockets. 

According to court records, Conklin offered officers the cash not to take him to jail. 

The 25-year-old has a history of drug convictions and was due in court Wednesday to be sentenced in another drug related case. 

"I'm afraid to let you out of jail because you may very well kill yourself," Judge Sean Delahanty said Monday morning in court. "All you have to do is run into a bad batch of dope and you're dead."

Thomas says he has no regrets. He says it's all case of man -- and man's best friend -- protecting their home.

"I work hard for my money, and it makes me upset someone was out here in my stuff, stealing my stuff," he said.

Conklin pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges, trespassing and bribery.

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