Fla. man fights off armed intruder with glass cleaner

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(CNN) — While assault rifles are flying off the shelves in America, a Florida man has shown that home defense can be done much more cheaply — with a bottle of glass cleaner.

Jacques Baillargeon, 66, was relaxing in Lauderdale Lakes with his wife Tuesday, when a man entered their condo holding a gun and a crowbar, according to law enforcement.

The crowbar turned out to be not only unnecessary, but also got the accused perpetrator, Nathaniel Smith, 29, caught for this home invasion, and a previous one.

The intruder was able to just stroll right into the dwelling without using the pry bar. The victims, who hail from Canada, had left the door wide open to enjoy the balmy 70 degree breeze, according to a report from the Boward County Sheriff’s Office.

When Baillargeon saw the man, he put aside any concern for his personal safety. It was someone else’s well-being that troubled him.

“There’s no way this guy’s going to touch my wife,” he told CNN affiliate WSVN.

The French Canadian grabbed the closest weapon within reach, a bottle of glass cleaner, and pounced on the invader less than half his age. He sprayed the intruder in the face with the blue liquid. Glass cleaner often contains ammonia and alcohol, and sometimes vinegar, which all burn, when they hit the eyes.

The man did not open fire, but instead took a swing with the crowbar at Baillargeon, who blocked the blow and flung the iron out of his hand, police said.

The thief fled. In the scuffle, he also lost a skull cap he had been wearing.

Baillargeon dialed 911. The receiving dispatcher was in disbelief.

“You sprayed him with window cleaner?” she asked.

Shortly thereafter, a different 911 dispatcher received a call from someone else: Nathaniel Smith.

Fearing his fingerprints might be found on the crowbar he dropped during the home invasion, he phoned in with a fake story to cover his own tracks, police said.

A man just now broke into his patio, Smith reportedly said to the dispatcher, who recorded the call. He gave her a list of stolen items, including a skull cap and a crow bar.

Police drove to his residence to take down his story and felt something wasn’t quite right, the sheriff’s office said. It didn’t help that Smith pulled a bag of marijuana out of his pocket right in front of them.

They took him in. Smith quickly confessed and is in jail without bond.

He also confessed to a previous home invasion, in which a couple was robbed of jewelry, money, cell phones and a computer.

Two days before his scuffle with Baillargeon, police said Smith entered the home of Normand Tremblay and Suzane Boutin, both 61.

The couple from Canada had left the door to their condo wide open to savor that gentle Florida breeze.

Police said Smith walked in with his gun — and his crowbar.

This article was written by CNN’s Ben Brumfield.  TM & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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