We got him.
Today, while at work, sitting at my desk near the front entrance, I heard the cover plate to the collection box clang to the floor. I knew something was amiss, and before I knew what I was doing I was up out of my chair chasing after an 18-year-old thief. When he saw me and I shouted "Stop! Thief!" he sped up, booking it through Mary's Garden down our main driveway towards the neighborhood.
Luckily for me, Melvin, my assistant, is always looking for a fight, and he was quick on his feet and engaged him immediately, when I yelled, "Stop him, Melvin! He's a thief!"
Melvin was painting the entrance gate, and saw this fool and me chasing him. The thief had a pair of scissors in his hand, which he used to pry open the poor box, and made it past Melvin, who then engaged in pursuit. Melvin, who is wicked fast, gave chase, even though his shoe fell off. He continued nonetheless, all while talking shit to the kid.
Seeing this and that I was being outpaced, I turned around, ran to the van, picking up my phone that I had dropped on the way, and sped off into the neighborhood to find the would-be thief pinned to the ground with Melvin on top of him, talking--no, yelling--at the punk. I called 911, the cops arrived shortly, we filled out our statements, the cops thanked us for getting this dip, and the vagabond left in cuffs.
1.) I have played previously this scenario over in my head several times. "What if ?" Now I know, what if. You can have a plan for what you will do, but in the end you act on instinct.
2.) I need to run regularly. I lost my breath quickly. Too quickly. If it wasn't for Melvin chasing this bastage down, we may not have found him.
3.) Stealth. Hindsight is 20-20. My approach worked, but if I had just booked it from my office without shouting anything, I may have prevented this dude from furthering his adrenaline rush and speeding up. I did succeed, however, in driving him out directly, giving chase and alerting Melvin in the process. In retrospect, I could have taken a different exit and possibly cut this kid off, with him least expecting it.
4.) All my EDC tools flew from my pouch while I was in pursuit. Time for a new pouch.
5.) Win the psychological battle. This kid was not tackled. He was talked into submission after being cornered and ordered to the ground. He knew he had done wrong, and is lucky it went so well for him. His conscience worked against him and so he eventually listened to us. We were lucky as well. Not every thug is so obedient.
6.) Bystanders. People are unprepared for conflict. People were outside. County construction workers witnessed the chase. Everyone simply watched, mesmerized something was happening.
7.) Mentally, I was in the game, but my physical condition sucked and deteriorated way too fast in the adrenaline dump.
8.) It would have been helpful to stretch this morning, have been wearing running shoes instead of steel toe work boots.
9.) Adreniline changes everything and puts you on a different mental plane. Fight or flight. In this case, sheer overwhelming verbal violence/force frightened the thief into submission.
10.) Murphy's Law Rules. I damn near twisted my foot running through this garden. This kid ran right into Melvin's path. Melvin's shoe fell off. The kid gave up relatively easily. Etc. Etc. In a live situation, things happen that we just can't forsee, though we have to be prepared for it as best as we can.
Stay safe out there. Be prepared.
Some days the dragon wins, but on other days you catch the thief under the best of circumstances.
This was that day.
Over and Out,