The incident shook the affluent Wynnewood neighborhood, but Tatiana Reuven was not surprised that it was inside the home of Jay Gordon that the burglars encountered resistance.
"He's not to be messed with," she said of Gordon, who lives next door. "He's a tough guy."
Officials said Gordon chased two, or perhaps three, intruders from his rancher early Thursday afternoon by firing several shots at them.
It was not known if any of the burglars was injured. No one in the house was hurt.
Lower Merion Police Superintendent Michael J. McGrath said police received a report just after 1 p.m. of an "interrupted burglary" in the 1200 block of Remington Road.
Gordon and his wife, Eileen, heard knocking on the front door, said township spokesman Tom Walsh. When they didn't answer, the intruders broke in through the back door.
Gordon got his gun and fired at them, police said. They fled and sped away in a white sedan and remained at large, said Narberth Police Sgt. Robert Yantorno. Narberth police gave chase but lost the vehicle after it crossed the city line.
Reuven said Gordon often worked from home.
Remington, a busy cut-through between Lancaster Avenue and Haverford Road, was closed for 90 minutes by the incident.
"There was a SWAT team and everything out front," Reuven said.
"I heard about five shots," she said. "I thought it was firecrackers or something."
Muriel Solow, 83, a Floridian who was visiting a daughter who lives in the neighborhood, said she was sitting outside when the commotion unfolded. "I never heard shots before," she said, then "I heard four or five in a row."
After the burglars fled, Gordon emerged from the house with his hands in the air, holding his handgun, Reuven said. He was placed in handcuffs briefly, witnesses said, but it was not known if he was charged.
Gordon, standing outside his garage, declined comment.
"It's crazy," said Reuven. "It's too close for comfort."