GASTONIA, N.C. -- Two neighbors are being credited for stopping a thief accused of trying to break into a homeowner's car using a fire extinguisher.

Gastonia Police said it happened Saturday night in a neighborhood off of Neal Hawkins Road. Officers charged Michael Estes with attempted breaking and entering and injury to real property after they said he tried to snatch a purse from a Mercedes Benz SUV belonging to Ralph Warren's wife.

Michael Estes, photo via Gaston County jail.

Warren said he was in bed when he heard Estes try to break in. When Warren came outside, Estes ran off.
His neighbor, William, who declined to give his last name out of concern for his family's safety, also heard the noises and came out to investigate.

"I heard Ralph and his wife yelling, 'Stop that guy!'" William said.

He chased after Estes while Warren jumped into his wife's Mercedes to catch up.

"I didn't even have on a shirt," Warren said. "I had on my pajamas."

They caught up to Estes a few houses up the road; Warren held him down while William, a concealed carry permit holder, pulled out his gun for safety.

"My adrenaline was going so much," William recalled. "It was very chaotic, very nerve-wracking."

Police soon arrived and arrested Estes.

Warren said he was incredibly grateful for his neighbor's help.

"I guess he felt like he just needed to look after this old fella, and he did that," Warren said. "He's my hero."

"I don't really consider it a hero," William said. "I think it's more us just protecting each other."

As of Monday afternoon, Estes remained in Gaston County jail under a $2,000 secured bond.