A spry 75-year-old man quickly subdued an alleged shoplifter at the Washington Crown Center Mall in North Franklin Township, Pennsylvania.
Not by any means your ordinary good Samaritan helping to make a senior citizen’s arrest, Navy vet Charlie Burton happens to be an ex-boxer and former karate instructor who currently works in a lumberyard.
On his way to the food court to get something to eat, Burton saw a security officer struggling with the suspect, age 29, and came to his assistance in the incident that occurred last Saturday.
“I think the officer tripped him a little bit, and I give him a flip and put him down… I got his arm and gave him a big twist and tripped him and put him face down,” Burton told local media. “He kept hollering ‘You hurt my arm,’ and I said, ‘You better quit fussing around and fighting, I’ll just break it.'” Burton helped the officer restrain the man until backup arrived.
The suspect allegedly walked off with $200 worth of unpaid clothing from Macy’s before he was apprehended.
In an interesting if not ironic footnote to the story, Burton — who is identified as age 74 rather than 75 by some news outlets — was on hand because he was a vendor at a gun show at the mall. He sells homemade pens, some of which are made from bullet casings, to gun enthusiasts.
“Trying to commit a robbery during a sportsmen’s show probably wasn’t the brightest move, Burton said. The event was heavily populated with state Game Commission officers, policemen from the Blue Knights police motorcycle group and plenty of sportsmen exercising their Second Amendment rights,” the Elmwood City Ledger reported.
According to state senator Camera Bartolotta, an eyewitness to the scuffle at the mall, “The security guard was having a tough time, he pulled away very aggressively. But then Charlie came in and they wrestled him to the ground. It was pretty impressive.”
The suspect faces a charge of retail theft and was taken to the Washington County jail. He allegedly also is wanted by authorities on a separate drug-related charge.
Acknowledging that his wife wasn’t keen on him getting involved in the shoplifting tussle in the first place at his age, Charlie Burton modestly also admitted that he was “dumbfounded” by all the subsequent publicity and notoriety. “The guy who should be getting the attention is the cop who got him in the first place.”
[Image via YouTube]