The Victim: Jake Dean
Date: Thursday, July 21
Time: Around 12:30 p.m.
Place: 5800 block of Vickery

Jake Dean is no stranger to crime. His car has been broken into on more than one occasion, and more recently, some property was stolen from his yard. So this time, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

As Dean pulled up to his house after having been gone for a couple hours, his neighbor came out to meet him.

“My neighbor came out and asked me if I knew a big black guy,” Dean says. “I said no, and he told me that the guy had come up and taken some stuff from my yard.”

Dean realized that he had passed the guy as he was driving down the street, so they hopped in the truck and went off to find him.

Dean’s action is something Officer Keith Allen of the Central Patrol Division doesn’t recommend. “Nobody’s personal safety is worth any item of property,” Allen says. “It’s not worth anyone being injured, or God forbid, killed over.”

Although all that was stolen was a flashlight, leaf blower and electrical cord, all worth less than $35, Dean says, he felt it was worth finding the thief to get his stuff back.

He and his neighbor found the man a few houses down, and they pulled up on the lawn next to his car.

“He was coming out of the back alley, stealing from someone else’s yard,” he says.

Dean got out of the truck and confronted the thief, using “a few choice words” and asked for his belongings back.

“He could have clanked our heads together and that would have been the end of it, but he didn’t want any trouble.”

As the man got his things from the car, Dean noticed that the 1986 or 1987 black BMW was full of stuff he assumed was stolen from other homes. He quickly returned home and phoned the police.

“I was surprised at how quickly the cops responded,” he says.

He walked the police officer through what happened, making sure to give every detail.

“He didn’t think it was best that I chased the guy through the neighborhood,” Dean says. “[But] he was happy I got my stuff back though.”

A few days later, after a house in the neighborhood was broken into, the police returned to Dean’s home to show him photos from a lineup to identify the thief. They had also tried tracing the man through his license plate number, but the car was registered to a different man who’d sold the car.

None of the pictures matched the man Dean confronted. But Dean says he was “amazed that for a non-violent crime, they came back again with a lineup.”

In the end, Dean says he’s happy the situation turned out as it did.

“This whole thing could have been a lot worse,” he says.

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