Man tried to steal truck near Belleville, ran off when homeowner fired shots, police say

Melvin C. Benson
Melvin C. Benson Provided

An East St. Louis man was arrested when his attempt to steal a truck near Belleville was thwarted by a homeowner who opened fire on him, authorities said Wednesday.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said the incident happened in the Signal Hill neighborhood early Monday morning. The homeowner was not charged.

The sheriff’s department said Melvin C. Benson, 52, was arrested Monday and charged Wednesday with one count of burglary, a class 2 felony. He was in custody at the St. Clair County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon on $75,000 bail.

Deputies responded to Kingston Drive near Belleville early Monday morning. A homeowner said he was awakened by noises at his front door.

The homeowner then heard his truck start and saw it start to move in his driveway, police said. The homeowner used his 9 mm pistol to fire two shots toward the suspect as the truck drove toward him.

Neither the suspect nor the vehicle was struck by the gunfire.

The suspect then reversed the truck, damaging the back of the truck and the side of a car parked in the driveway before getting out and running off, police said.

Capt. Bruce Fleshren said deputies arrived to find the homeowner unhurt. The homeowner and deputies then searched for the suspect, who was found in the 1000 block of West Main Street.

The homeowner’s actions were found to be reasonable, and no charges will be filed against him, police said.