Quick action nabs burglar

When John Morris saw a burglar climb out of his neighbour's home and run off down the street, he didn't think twice.

He took off after him, tackled the man and sat on him until police arrived.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council senior pollution prevention officer had gone to his Riverton Rd home for lunch yesterday, when he learned there was a would-be burglar inside his neighbour's house.

While talking with his neighbour outside, another neighbour showed up. Together, four men went to catch the offender in action.

Mr Morris headed to the rear of the property while the others went to the front.

"Then the guy out the front said 'he's coming out the window'. I didn't know which one, but I saw him jump out the window and run off to the corner of Tay St and Riverton."

The man headed toward a woman walking her dog, who threatened to let the animal loose if he did not stop.

"And he hesitated," Mr Morris said.

"That hesitation was just enough for me to catch up with him and tackle him to the ground. There was nothing else to do."

Mr Morris then sat on the man, who was wearing socks on his hands.

"I told him to stay on the ground and all he said was 'That was a good tackle, bro'."

The other neighbours and the woman joined Mr Morris and waited until police arrived.

He said the scenario was very much a "team effort".

Tauranga Senior Sergeant Cam Anderson said the four people involved in the citizens' arrest were an ex-police officer, an off-duty police officer and two neighbours.

"The obvious problem with these situations is the potential dangers they could have faced. You never know what is going to happen.

"In this case they have done the right thing by calling us and then, when the person tried to escape before police arrived, there was sufficient people there to deal with the situation."

The man was arrested at the scene, charged with burglary and taken to Tauranga police station.

Mr Anderson said police inquiries were continuing.

"It's an ongoing inquiry. It appears there may have been more than one house involved."

Mr Anderson said burglaries happened all year round throughout the Western Bay and he advised people not to make it easy for people to steal from them by leaving valuables visible.

"There are specific areas where there are problems but I don't want to divulge what we're doing or where it is. We've got cars patrolling in these areas and tasks staff have to do and, although we're trying to prevent crime, we're also trying to catch them in the act."

- By Kiri Gillespie and Genevieve Helliwell of the Bay of Plenty Times  

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