Law Enforcement Explain Citizen's Arrest - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex and Wicomico County Law Enforcement Explain Citizen's Arrest

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

LAUREL Del.-A Laurel man is being hailed a hero after he said he stopped a man who was trying to steal valuable merchandise from a local restaurant.

Chris, who did not reveal his last name, said the incident happened last week at Bayside Seafood on Route 13 in Laurel. 

On Wednesday, a trail of brown oil could still be seen on the grass behind the restaurant that was seeping from a truck which Chris said he stopped from taking off.

"I immediately called 911," Chris said.
He said he called police because his gut instinct told him that something didn't look and feel right. 
"I went home, grabbed my four wheeler and figured I would sneak up on him," Chris said, "so I parked my ATV in front of him and started to have words with him and couple of minutes later the police showed up and were able to apprehend him."

Capt. Ricky Richardson with the Laurel Police Department said that Chris' actions are referred to as a "citizen's arrest."
It's the kind of help that Richardson said is legal and the one the department appreciates.

"It just makes our job a lot easier because then we don't have to search for the person and everything," Richardson said.

"The perpetrator has committed a crime and you have citizens out there who are willing to help the police."

Charles Smith, who is the owner of the restaurant, said that if it wasn't for Chris' quick actions he would be out of a lot of money.

"I would say he is a hero on my part because then that might have saved me a bunch of money or saved my alarm from going off and me having to get up in the middle of the night," Smith said.

While Chris may have showed a lot of bravery and guts, Lt. Tim Robinson with the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said that his office doesn't condone vigilante justice.

"We don't want our private citizens going out thinking they are cape avengers and fighting the forces of greed crime and evil," Robinson said. "That's what we are here for."

Chris said that he made the citizen's arrest because he knew he could.

"My wife calls me an idiot for doing it, but I say it's about time," he said.

He also said that he would do it again if necessary.

Both Robinson and Richardson said that anytime you feel the need to make a citizen's arrest, be as safe as possible.

They said a citizen can detain a suspect, but use common sense.

They also added that if the perpetrator has a weapon, then call 911.


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