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Wisconsin pastor fights off intruder with a machete to protect his family

Eau Claire (WQOW) – A scary situation that could have taken a turn for the worse was avoided, after an Eau Claire pastor fought off a would-be thief, who was armed.

Police say it happened Wednesday around 3 p.m.

Caleb Schaller, a pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, said he was in his office when he heard a gruff voice inside his home.

He said the intruder entered the unlocked front door and claimed to be a mechanic, asking his daughter for the keys to the family’s car.

Schaller said when he confronted the intruder, he started cursing and demanded the keys, while he had a machete slung over his shoulder.

Schaller said he feared for his family, so he pushed the man outside on the lawn – and wrestled the machete away.

“I think it was, I’m a father and these are the children God has given me to take care of. So, you take care of them,”  Schaller said.

Eau Claire police said the suspect, Dirk Ballard, then stole a car a block from Schaller’s home and was later involved in a crash in Fall Creek, where he was ultimately arrested.

Police are recommending charges of 2nd degree recklessly endangering safety, attempted armed robbery, burglary, disorderly conduct and bail jumping for Ballard, who is in court Friday.

Neena Pacholke

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