LITTLETON, Colo. (BNC) — Dale Pollard was in the right place at the right time. When an alleged shoplifter went running out of a store, Dale ran after the man, tackled him to the ground and held him until police arrived. (Dale is in the photo above at right.)
Dale, 19, shared his experience on Facebook:
It’s not everyday you tackle a shoplifter trying to jack $135 worth of clothes. I tackled him just before he reached his get-away car and held him in a head lock on the ground until the police got there. There were more people in the car so that could have been a lot worse. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for our officers. They put their lives on the line every day. They also gave me a cool coin basically telling me how legit I am.
When BNC asked Dale to provide more details, he wrote us the following. Now, in his own words.
I went into Ross to look for some gym shorts. It was late so there was hardly anyone there. That guy was one of the few people still in the store. He already looked kind of suspicious and looked at me every time I passed him. He didn’t look too much older than me.
Things started getting weird when we both finished shopping at the same time. His girlfriend walked up to him and asked if he was ready to go, then he started acting weird. He asked, “Where do I even pay for this at?” So me, thinking I was being nice, directed him to front and tried to let him pay first.
He started acting anxious and started shifting his weight from one leg to the other. Since he just stood there I thought, “Okay, I’ll pay first,” so I just walked up to the counter to pay. I turned around just in time to his girlfriend look at him and then he bolted straight for the door.
He was fast! I was stunned for a second trying to take in what just happened as the alarm on the doors were going off. I dropped everything I had in my hands and shot out right after him. That’s when things got messy.
He had a black Sudan parked out front and there were other people inside yelling at him to hurry up. I thought when I was running after “I’m going to be so sore tomorrow,” because I thought they were going to get out and start kicking me or worse! With that thought in mind I figured that I better put the shoplifter down so that at least he would get caught.
I was right up on him and he was just about to leap in the back seat of the car. I used the rock island that was on the curb in the parking lot as a spring board. I leapt off that and tackled him as hard as I could in the back. It worked. He dropped the clothes everywhere and hit his head on the back of the car.
His friends were yelling at him to hurry up and get going, but I yelled at them and said, “This isn’t happening tonight.” The guy tried to get back up and get in the car but I wrapped my arm around his neck and threw him to the ground.
As soon as he hit the ground his “friends” drove off and left him there. I jumped on him because he kept trying to get away and I put him in a classic headlock. He started frantically reaching for his pocket, and so I said, “If you shank me with a knife, things are going to get a whole lot worse.”
There was no one around in the parking lot so I just laid there with him between my arms. He kept trying to get to his pocket so I grabbed his wrist and twisted it back. He started swearing and yelling at me and said he wasn’t trying to stab me. Like I was supposed to believe a guy that just tried to steal $135 worth of clothing.
The people who worked at Ross were stunned, I guess, because they just stared out the window at me. My knees and elbows were bleeding from the tackle, but we were both calming down now. He just laid there and started telling me how he grew up on the streets and can’t afford clothing. I told him that doesn’t excuse theft. He started swearing again.
At this point, since nobody was around, I’m trying to figure out how to call 911. An older gentleman rolled by in his car with the windows down and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind calling the police. He rolled up his window and drove off.
At this point my mind goes everywhere. I’m trying to think of a way to call, but this guy is desperate and would totally run if I got up. I started thinking of the best way to knock him out, but I really didn’t want to do that.
Suddenly, a man walks up, his name is Tim. He pulls out his phone and calls the police and tells them the guy is under control. I find out he works at a church down the road and that he was watching from his car. He said he stayed there because he was waiting to see if the gang was going to get out of the car and attack me. He told me that he grew up doing jujitsu and that he was ready to step in. I thanked him and said I appreciated it.
We started talking Bible and now I’m looking up the church he works at to see if wants to keep talking!
The police arrived and, after taking reports, shook my hand and gave me that coin. They said they were grateful I was there and willing to step in.
It all started to sink in and all the scenarios that could have gone wrong really hit me, but I was glad I could help.
Dale studied at Bear Valley Bible Institute. His parents are Neal and Kathy Pollard.