What a cat burglar learned about preparedness

In the early 1970’s in North Vancouver BC, the Vancouver Province newspaper published an edition with a special section that was dedicated to Bruce, a local man who was a well known and an accomplished martial artist.

Bruce lived on the fifth storey of a luxury apartment building.

One night Bruce awoke to unfamiliar sounds in his living room. He grabbed his training katana (sword) which was made of bamboo.

There was no need for Bruce to get dressed because he slept in his Gi (martial artist uniform).

Bruce peered into the living room and discovered a cat burglar on his knees rifling through the entertainment center cabinet.

Bruce sprang into action. The cat burglar, who was unaware that anyone was up, startled so badly at the sound of Bruce’s kiyup (loud yell) and the sight of a man in full martial arts dress swinging a bamboo sword down on him, that he soiled himself. His bowel and bladder both had the good sense to get out of there.

Bruce’s movements were rapid. Smack! Smack, smack, smack! The blows were meant to hurt, but not knock out the burglar.

Bruce told the burglar not to move while he exchanged his training katana for one of his actual Samurai swords. He now held that sword over the burglar.

There was a telephone on the entertainment center cabinet. 

“Call the police and tell them what you have done and for them to come and get you,” Bruce ordered the burglar.

There was no argument from the burglar. He wanted out of that apartment. So he called the local police station (this was in pre 911 days). The conversation went something like this:

Burglar: “I’m at ____________. I tried to rob the place. There’s a man with a sword standing over me. He told me to call you. Please come and get me!”

Police: “Yeah, right buddy. Go sleep it off.” Click. That was the sound of the phone hanging up.

Burglar to Bruce: “They hung up on me!”

Bruce: Smack. “Call them back.”

Again, the terrified cat burglar called the police station.

Burglar: “I’m not drunk. Please pick me up.”

Police: “Stop calling here or we’ll charge you for making crank calls to us.”

Click. Smack.

The cat burglar didn’t wait for Bruce to tell him. He dialed the police station again.

Burglar: “Please, come and arrest me. This isn’t a crank call.”

By now the cat burglar was openly weeping into the phone. He wanted out of that apartment and away from Bruce, who was standing over him like a big avenging white clad statue. He also wanted to get away from the very sharp and shiny Samurai sword held by the angry statue. He had seen what he could do with the wooden sword. He didn’t want to find out what he could do with the metal one now in his hands.

This time, the policeman who answered was fed up with the burglar’s calls. The police traced the call despite being given the address because they were convinced it was a crank call.

An officer arrived and knocked on the door.

“Come in.” Bruce’s girlfriend, who had remained out of sight in the bedroom, opened the door.

The officer entered a bizarre scene in a nicely appointed suite that smelled like a toilet due to the burglar who was on his knees and sobbing into an entertainment center while a man in a white gi stood over him with a big sword.

The hapless cat burglar was arrested. Finally.

I wonder if he was scared straight by his encounter with Bruce?

Bruce took preparedness to a whole other level.


  • Comments (6)

    • 6

      Good morning Ubique,

      Here, it is different.

      If someone trained like Bruce … here it is typically combat arms military … it’s like having a weapon.

      Other factors are now injected into home defense.  Bruce could find himself destitute and pre-COVID, maybe some jail time if factors like “religion” such as public identify with abortion issue or race get into the public arena report of event. 

      • 2

        Home defense is tricky.

        I prepared by bookmarking and studying all the variables for the law under which I am accountable to.

        Every prepper should know for certain: 1) I can do ___________ inside my home in case of intruder 2) I can do __________________if attacked by someone while on my property and 3) I can do ____________________if attacked of my property and elsewhere including job.

        The cat burglar definitely should have prepared better. He climbed up five balconies to face that welcome!

    • 6

      This made my day! 

      …Starts searching training katana on Amazon….

      Lesson’s I’ve learned from this is to be stealthy, don’t sleep in the nude (although that would probably have scared the burglar even more to see a naked guy hitting him with a stick), and have a less than lethal form of defense as well as a lethal form as well.

      • 6

        Good afternoon Conrad,

        It’s a great point to have a non-lethal form of protection rather than “massive retaliation”. If the intruder was, for example, mentally ill, major problems for rest of life … home could be lost to pay legal bills forever.

        Am not saying that lethal forms of protection have no value; they do.  It’s just that the split second decision must be a decision to make and not a “no alternative”.

      • 5

        Bob, Excellent point – Force is always tempered with common sense. The last thing anyone wants to ever to is harm an ill person who may not technically be dangerous, but in need of medical assistance.

      • 2


        Glad you enjoyed story. I’m holding on to a few light hearted ones, because sometimes, even serious preppers need a good laugh.

        And, you are right there are lessons in this story. Despite Bruce’s abilities he kept his girlfriend hidden as well. He was being careful.

        I just wish someone could have gotten a photo of the cat burglar’s face…ROFL..