Last night (Friday, 10/5) at 8:00 PM, I exited the rear of my house… and noticed the dome light on in our car. I thought my wife had accidentally left a car door ajar so I went to shut it. Upon approach, I saw a man stretched across from the driver’s side rifling through the glove box. He had no idea I was standing right there at the door he entered.
I paused, incredulous at what I was witnessing, then leaned down and said: “Did you get everything you need?” He rushed out of the car. But I: a) had the element of surprise; and b) had a very easy jump on him. When he exited, I immediately tackled him hard to the ground. He managed to stand up and I, not knowing what was coming next, grabbed his left arm behind his back and smashed him against our house then against the fence.
I let him struggle his way out to the front where I knew my neighbors would help. Sure enough, my neighbor Jim across the street came running out and together, we slammed the guy onto the ground to restrain him until police arrived. My other neighbors called the police. He was wily and strong and managed to get out of our grasp and start running west… But without his backpack which was now in my and Jim’s possession.
As I chased the guy, I heard Jim holler: “I got his knife.” That was enough for me even if I misheard Jim. I followed him from a safe distance and watched him go up the driveway… He seemed to make a quick change of clothes and was then spotted just a few doors up… walking quickly away from me. He must have jumped some fences. Again I gave chase, this time with the police dispatcher on the phone. She recommended I stop so I did with tremendous reluctance, knowing I was watching the thief get away, last seen around the corner of Elmwood and Cedar in a black t-shirt.
Instead of getting anything from our car, the police now own his backpack full of thief tools, drugs, needles and items from other cars. They also now own his bike which he left in my driveway. Police also have the flashlight he was using as well as a can of dog repellent (aka mace) that he was apparently going to use on me.
Ironically, our motion-sensing floodlight had just burned out the night before. The timing of this thief was unlikely to be coincidental. He likely trolls around at night looking for opportunities.
Description: White male, 6’1, approx. 200 pounds, 18-22 years old, short dark brown hair, unkempt inch-long facial hair (sort of curly), had on a long sleeve white pullover shirt but was removed in place of a black t-shirt underneath, loose jeans.
There is so much to say here but it’s worth just summarizing a few things:
1) In hindsight, my actions were reckless. I could have been hurt or stabbed by a dirty syringe in our struggle.
2) Even still, I’d do it again to protect my family’s – and neighborhood’s – sanctity.
3) For what it’s worth, I repeatedly told the guy to stop resisting and he would not get hurt. Hurting him was never my intention.
4) Knowing your neighbors creates powerful bonds for those unexpected times when you really need their help. Thanks neighbors!!
5) Lock car doors and homes and don’t leave valuables out. Our car was unlocked. This was a crime of opportunity. Also, quickly fix deterrents like floodlights.
6) If crooks are monitoring this forum and see my post, know this: Your bad choices will not be tolerated. We’re watching you.
Let’s hope this kid woke up today sore and with a fresh perspective on life. It’s never too late to start making positive life choices.
Very good ideas, re: locking everything up, neighbors being good neighbors and helping. As far as not hurting him… why not? It might keep him out of the neighborhood. (This might be my inner city background speaking, where the ones who got away were lucky to be able to do so — and sometimes were never seen again