14-Year-Old Football Player Tackles Shoplifter

He was "just trying to be a good citizen"
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2016 9:06 AM CDT

Police pursuing a shoplifter through a Bellevue, Wash., mall got a little help from a high school football player. Kevin Merz, 14, was at Old Navy at the Factoria Mall with his parents and two brothers on Tuesday when he saw the suspect trying to give officers the slip. "I decided that I have to protect my family. So I straight-on football tackled him," the 6-foot-1, 206-pound left tackle tells ABC News. After the takedown, Merz's dad quickly pulled his son off of the suspect, worried that he might have a weapon.The 33-year-old suspect, who has not been named, has a history of felony theft.

The incident began in a Target store, where police say the suspect was seen taking the tags off of some $900 worth of merchandise. An officer was waiting for him at the door. When ordered to stop, the suspect dropped the goods and took off through a cosmetics store and ended up in the Old Navy, where, according to KIRO 7, he tried to knock a ladder down to stop the pursuing officers. Eventually, with an officer closing in on the man, Merz executed his tackle. "I'm just trying to be a good citizen," he tells KIRO. A police spokesman advises citizens against intervening in a police chase, but adds, "I think in seven years he needs to apply to be a police officer, because he’d make a great officer." (This shoplifting story had a surprisingly sweet ending.)

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