Tulsa man tackles armed robber

Thursday, April 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A citizen's arrest that helped Tulsa Police catch an armed robber. A Tulsa man was buying cat food this weekend when he was the eyewitness to a robbery. Without giving it a second thought, he tackled the suspect and now police say he deserves a pat on the back.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright says Robin Olson is a regular guy, works two jobs, has a fiancé' and loves animals. When he stopped at a Tulsa convenience store Saturday, he noticed a picture on the counter of a guy who'd recently robbed the store.

When Olson came out of the store, he noticed a guy on this payphone who he thought looked like the guy he'd just seen in the picture. At first, he thought he was being silly, then, he thought it was worth a second look. Sure enough, the man hung up the phone, went inside and moments later came hustling out with a handful of cash. "I got out of the car and he was coming right at me and I him and tackled him and the cops ran over and apprehended him."

As a matter of fact, undercover officers were right there, they too, had been watching the suspect. "They come running over yelling put your hands up and pointing shotguns at us. I put my hands up while I still had my knee in the guy's back and said, hey, I just stopped him, I don't even know who he is."

The man was Tracy Nieberger and Tulsa Police say he confessed to five robberies. He told police he'd lost his job, gotten hooked on drugs and had to rob to support himself. Police believe he certainly would've kept up his criminal ways. Tulsa Police Sgt Troy Rogers, "He had no home, lived in his vehicle and did some temporary labor, catch as catch can and I'm not sure how much of that he was doing, that was the way he was subsisting."

In fact, officers had just released a videotape of Nieberger from a robbery in hopes a citizen might recognize him. And, even though Olson did much more than that, he doesn't see it as anything special. "I just did what I thought was right. I hope is somebody else is getting robbed, someone else would be there.”

Robbery detectives obviously don't recommend any citizen risk getting hurt or killed to stop a criminal. But, they're thankful Olson helped out, they're also thankful to the street crimes officers who had been doing surveillance and were at the right place at the right time.