Two Teens Arrested In Shooting Of Tulsa Homeowner During Burglary

Wednesday, July 28th 2010, 12:28 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Two 17-year-olds are in jail in connection with the burglary and shooting of a man who lives in Tulsa's Brookside area.

Tulsa Police say Wesley Nelson had voted Tuesday and was stopping by his home to eat lunch.  He's expected to survive, after having emergency surgery.

This case was solved as fast as it was, thanks to an alert neighbor who had seen an unfamiliar car parked next to a neighbor's house and took the time to write down the tag number.

Police say that small act, led them to two suspects, two confessions and loads of incriminating evidence.

Tulsa Police say Ethan Brett Dentlinger of Jenks and Christian Raber of Tulsa admitted to breaking into Wesley Nelson's home on Tuesday.  According to police the teens broke into the house through a sunroom window and were in the process of stealing Nelson's big-screen TV when Nelson came home.

7/27/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Homeowner Shot With His Own Gun After Surprising Two Burglars

Police were thrilled to meet Vickie, an alert neighbor who spotted something suspicious at her neighbor's house.

"I noticed somebody peeking over my neighbor's fence and told my husband it looked creepy so he drove around the block and the guy was in his car on the phone, so my husband said get a piece of paper and get the tag number," Vicki said.

Turns out that neighbor was broken into and then, Wesley was burglarized and shot, less than an hour later, just three blocks away. Police say that tag number was key.

"It came in huge in this case," Cpl. Gene Watkins, Tulsa Police Department, said.

It led them to Dentlinger. Police say he confessed to the burglary heard gunshots as he was running away. They say he and Raber met up at Raber's house, which was right next door to the victim.

"Makes me feel great that we could help out and catch somebody who did something really bad," Vicki said.

According to police Dentlinger says he ran out the back and hopped a fence to get away, but Raber ran to the back bedroom, grabbed the victim's gun and - during a struggle - shot Nelson three times.

Police say they recovered the Nelson's stolen gun from Raber's pocket when they arrested him along with three spent shell casings and two live rounds.  Raber lives next door to Nelson, according to the arrest report.

Christian Raber was booked on complaints of shooting with intent to kill and two charges of second degree burglary. Ethan Brett Dentlinger was booked on complaints of shooting with intent to kill and second degree burglary.

Raber confessed to another burglary, and Dentlinger was arrested for burglary last fall.

Police said there have been quite a few break-ins in the Brookside area and all have the same MO, but, of course, this one, went horribly wrong. They say this proves how fast a property crime can turn into a violent one.