NATRONA HEIGHTS (KDKA) — A local man is being credited with helping police catch a suspect accused of stealing from the Walmart in Natrona Heights.
The man says he was outside the store when he saw the thief making a run for it. He admits what he did wasn’t the smartest thing, but he also says he’d do it all over again.
It was lunchtime on Thursday at the Walmart in Natrona Heights when authorities say 20-year-old John Bass came running out of the front door loaded down with what police describe as stolen merchandise.
All of it happened right in front of Bill, who doesn’t wish to be identified. He was at Walmart buying a trash can.
“Two security guards came out screaming and hollering,” he told KDKA. “He ran past me, jumped in his car.”
Bass took off. But Bill grabbed the suspect’s license plate number and called police. Then, he took off down the road where he spotted the suspect’s car in a doctor’s office parking lot.
“I pulled in and blocked the car, thinking that if he’s in it, he can’t go anywhere,” Bill said.
The suspect ran behind the building, changed clothes and came back ready for his getaway. He then asked Bill for gas money, saying that his car was empty.
Bill: “I said, ‘I can’t help you because you just ripped off, or robbed Walmart.”
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “You said this to the suspect?”
Bill: “Yes. He said, ‘No, I did not.’ I said, ‘Yes, you did. I watched you.’”
At that point, police were a few blocks away.
“He didn’t have any gas in his car. He had one choice; he turned around and took off running.”
All of it happened right in front of doctor’s office employee Becky Cook.
“It’s nice. People actually still care,” she said of Bill.
The suspect was then arrested by police. The merchandise was recovered .
As for Bill, he says he did it because he had to.
“I did it because people like that make me mad,” Bill said. “He made me mad.”
Bass is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.