Rankin Avenue in Lowell is as calm as streets come. So it’s no surprise that Jeffrey Funderburk did a double-take when he noticed a stranger outside his neighbor’s house.
“I was looking out the window and saw a red vehicle pull down this street and pull into the driveway,” Funderburk, a Gaston County Magistrate, said. He thought it could be nothing, until the man’s actions told him otherwise.
“He began to hit the door with his shoulder and his hip, and at that time is when I gathered all of my stuff and came over here myself,” Funderburk said.
Funderburk’s mindset quickly shifted to what he knows best. He once worked for Gaston County Police, Lowell Police and the North Carolina Highway Patrol as a law enforcement officer.
“I drew my weapon and aimed it at him,” he said.
Eventually, Funderburk said the suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Casey Philbeck, got in his car and tried to drive away. That’s when Funderburk says he fired twice at Philbeck’s back tires.
“The training kind of clicks, it’s like riding a bicycle,” Funderburk said.
Funderburk took off on foot after Philbeck, while calling the guys who still have their badges.
Lowell Police quickly arrested Philbeck, charging him with breaking and entering and larceny. He’s faced those charges multiple times in the past, including most recently earlier this month.
Funderburk said he is just happy he could lend a hand.
“I know all of these people around here would have done the same for me,” Funderburk said.
Police said the alleged thief got away with a jewelry box, but it was recovered. The homeowner did not want to speak on camera, but she did tell WBTV she was thankful for Funderburk’s actions.
Philbeck is being held in the Gaston County Jail on a $250,000 bond.