Merle E. Simonsma, 93, was sleeping during New Year’s Eve when a burglar entered his Calvine Road home and fired a shot that traveled through his bedroom wall and missed him.
He slept without his hearing aids during the evening when people fired gunshots in the rural area to celebrate the new year, his daughter, Merle J. Simonsma told the Citizen on Jan. 6.
The thief entered her father’s room and stole a credit card from a pair of pants that hanged on a doorknob, she said.
His card provider later informed him that his credit card was used to charge hundreds of dollars at the Red Hawk Casino in Placerville. Other charges were made at a gas station on the Jackson Highway and a Redbox movie rental kiosk at a Walmart store.
Several bullet holes were left at the house where Merle E. has lived for more than 60 years.
His daughter suspects that the burglar ransacked his house, workshop, and small cottage before firing his gun out of frustration.
“I think he ransacked first and he got mad at that point,” Merle J. said. “And that’s when he fired the shots.”
The Elk Grove police on Jan. 8 arrested Xiong Lor, 34, of Sacramento for allegedly committing the offenses at the Simonsma residence. Elk Grove police spokesperson Jason Jimenez said that the suspect faces charges of home invasion, shooting into an occupied dwelling, burglary, grand theft, and possession of stolen property.
He said that investigators connected Lor to the incident, based on evidence from video surveillance.
Merle J. mentioned that a neighbor’s security camera filmed a stranger riding a bicycle on the street during the early morning of Jan. 1. She said that the bicyclist later returned in the camera’s view and the suspect had “stuff on the handlebars.”
Her father’s missing pants were discovered in a pasture near his house later that morning. The suspect also apparently cut through two barbed wire fences to access Merle E.’s property, she said.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Merle J. said while describing the incident.