Burglary Foiled By Alert Tulsa Neighbor

Thursday, October 26th 2006, 10:12 am
By: News On 6

An alert neighbor stopped a burglary in progress in mid-town Tulsa Thursday morning by taking it upon himself to chase down the criminal.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says Tulsa Police say a Good Samaritan caught the crook not once, but three times after he kept escaping. When he finally tackled the suspect, in a case of mistaken identity, bystanders almost helped the criminal get away.

“They were putting the scooter in the truck and we noticed the scooter was our neighbor's. And once they jumped back in the truck and drove off it was like, that just doesn't look right." Walter Pettigrew says he knew that scooter was his neighbor's only means of transportation.

He says burglars hit his home a few months before, so only one thought came to mind. "I'm not gonna let him get away. I knew he'd done something and I wasn't gonna let him get away."

Pettigrew says he thought he had the suspect cornered when suddenly the man sped over the grass and slammed into an oncoming van. The man jumped out and Pettigrew tackled him. That's when bystanders jumped in to help, but they had the wrong man. "They thought that I was assaulting him, they didn't know what was going on, they just saw this black man assaulting this guy here on the street and they were like "Stop, stop hitting him!"

By the time authorities arrived witnesses cleared up the confusion. The News on 6 asked how frustrating it was that some people assumed he was the criminal. "It's an everyday thing, so you don't really think about it. I hate to say it that way, but that's just the way it is."

When the suspect ran again from paramedics trying to treat him, Pettigrew chased him down a final time and held him until he was handcuffed. Tulsa Police Sgt. Rick Bondy: "because of his efforts the lady got her scooter back and the bad guy's going to jail."

Walter Pettigrew: "It was just an everyday thing I would do any other day."

Tulsa Police identified the suspect as 26-year old Joshua Porter, they say a second suspect ran from the scene and is still on the loose.

Walter Pettigrew says he would do it again, he just wishes someone would bring back his stuff that was stolen.