Posted by: Joe English | May 2, 2008

News: Marathon runner catches thief, does us runners proud

Here’s a story from St. Paul, in which one of our marathon running brethren used his running skills to catch a thief. Nice work. The article comes from WCCO TV.

ST. PAUL (WCCO) ― A hospital worker in St. Paul said he wasn’t going to let a bad guy get away with stealing from a coffee shop. But this worker had a major advantage over the suspect: he’s a marathon runner.

At Ginkgo Coffeehouse inside St. Joseph’s hospital, two men jimmied the register and took $350, according to a police. At the same time Mark Laliberte was just passing by.

“To be honest with you, it was instinct and reaction I’d say,” said Laliberte.

He wrestled one suspect near the entrance. Fists were flying and he ripped off the guy’s sweatshirt.

“We ran right across the street here,” he said as he pointed across the hospital entrance toward a St. Paul street.

The suspect got 30 yards ahead but Laliberte figured his marathon training would kick in.

“I’m yelling at him to stop. That it was inevitable I was going to catch him. He kept looking back pretty surprised that I was keeping up with him and gaining pretty good too,” he said.

The chase went on for blocks.

“I definitely wanted to get him. I’d been punched in the face a couple times, so there was some incentive there,” he said.

Laliberte was working with a disadvantage because due to the earlier tussle, he had lost a shoe. Even so, Laliberte prevailed eventually, giving the guy a fierce bear hug and dragging him back to hospital security. The coffee shop owner was impressed.

“It also just feels good to know that somebody was willing to sticking their neck out for a business owner that they didn’t know,” said Kathy Sundbert, Ginkgo Coffeehouse owner.

She said she’ll be giving Laliberte free lattes and lots of appreciation.

“I know you just say it was just something you did but you know what, now you can think of the fact that people appreciate you. Thanks a lot for your help,” said Sundbert as she handed him a T-shirt with the coffeehouse logo on it.

The coffee shop owner said the $350 is a big deal for her. Insurance wouldn’t have covered that loss. She said the register was locked, but a worker left it unattended while getting supplies.

St. Paul Police arrested one suspect and they are looking for a second man they say was involved.

By Lisa Kiava, WCCO.com

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