Deputies: Homeowner pulls gun on intruder with face he won't forget

Deputy quickly recognizes criminal's facial tattoo from previous encounter

Booking photo of Elbert Gilliard IV

LAKE CITY, Fla – A Lake City homeowner stopped a burglary in progress Wednesday night and tried to hold the would-be thief at gunpoint until deputies arrived, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said.

The accused burglar, later identified as Elbert Gilliard IV, ran out of the house but was spotted coming out of nearby woods, deputies said. One of the responding deputies quickly recognized Gilliard, 32, because of his distinctive facial tattoo.

Records show Gilliard has had previous run-ins with law enforcement in Lake, Suwanee and Columbia counties.

According to his arrest report, Gilliard was found inside a Carpenter Road home about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. When the homeowner discovered Gilliard in his house, he pulled out his .22-caliber pistol and tried to hold Gilliard at gunpoint while he called authorities, deputies said.

When Gilliard ran, the homeowner followed him, the report said.

After Gilliard was captured, the homeowner did a walk-through of his house with investigators and found two rifles had been moved and a buck knife that had been in his truck had been brought into the kitchen. The keys to the truck had also been moved and clothes were strewn about the house.

The report said a cigarette found in a toilet matched the cigarettes in Gilliard’s pocket and that clothing found at the house that did not belong to the homeowner matched a distinct “strange” smell the deputies had noticed from Gilliard.

Gilliard was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft of a firearm and two counts of petty theft.

Court records show Gilliard was sentenced to one year in prison in October 2010 for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He also served time behind bars in 2008 for criminal mischief. 

Gilliard remains in the Columbia County jail on a $190,000 bond. 

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