14-Year-Old Football Player Stops Shoplifter (Video)

| by Reve Fisher
Kevin MerzKevin Merz

While on his spring break, a high school football player helped police apprehend a shoplifter (video below).

At the Factoria Mall in Bellevue, Washington, an alleged shoplifter tried to steal more than $900 in products from a Target store.  

"He even put a television into his cart and then he tried to walk right outside the door," said Seth Tyler, Bellevue Police Department Public Information Officer, as reported by KIRO.

An officer tried to stop him at the exit of the store, resulting in a multi-store chase.

"It was just like a Hollywood movie almost," recalled 14-year-old Kevin Merz, who had been shopping with his parents and two brothers during the incident.  

He ran through a cosmetic store and ended up in an Old Navy clothing store. After getting caught by another officer at the back of the store, he was able to escape before being handcuffed.

He then ran to the front of the store, where another officer was waiting for him outside the door. Seeing the officer, he ran back inside the store and knocked down displays as he tried to evade the two officers.

"I saw him running to the store from the outside, so I was like, 'okay there’s some crazy guy in here,'" Kevin recalled to KIRO during a Skype interview.

During the pursuit, the Seattle Prep student, who is a left-tackle on the school’s football team, was able to size up the suspect and put his athletic skills to work.   

"I’m about 6’1,” Kevin explained. "He’s about 5’6”, 5’7”. So, easy."

With stature on his side, Kevin stepped in and single-handedly ended the pursuit.

"I decided that I have to protect my family," he told ABC. "So, I straight-on football tackled him."

Soon after the tackle, police jumped in to detain the suspect. Kevin’s father also stepped in to pull the 14-year-old off the man.

"My dad got kind of scared because he thought he might have a weapon," Kevin said.

The suspect was charged with third-degree theft, resisting arrest, and making or having burglary tools.

Although Tyler does not recommend intervening in police chases, he commended the teenager for his actions. The Bellevue Police Department also plans to nominate Kevin for a citizenship award.

"I think in seven years he needs to apply to be a police officer, because he’d make a great officer," Tyler said.

Sources: ABC, KIRO / Photo credit: ABC

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