PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Upscale Walnut Street in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood is a place you usually don’t expect much crime.

But at 1:30 p.m. Friday, pandemonium broke out as a security guard went after a shoplifter.

The wild encounter was all caught on tape. The security guard slammed the suspect up against a minivan. The suspect took off his shirt and jacket and tried to escape, but eventually authorities nabbed him.

“He’s a retired city of Pittsburgh police officer and it was an automatic reaction, he said. He just jumped out and grabbed him,” said John Henne, owner of Henne Jewelers.

The Rite Aid where it happened sits on one side of Walnut Street in Shadyside. Henne Jewelers is right across the street, and they’ve got a bunch of security cameras.

Jewelry store security guard Mike Blake was looking out of the window when he spotted a suspected shoplifter running out of the Rite Aid. He immediately sprang into action.

“He ran out so quickly and grabbed the guy. It was within seconds,” said Henne.

That’s when the encounter happened at the minivan. The suspect tried to make off with about $750 in merchandise.

The jewelry store is glad they have Mike.

“It feels real nice that we have someone like Mike,” said Henne. “We have a few former city of Pittsburgh police officers that works for us.”

It wasn’t easy to stop the suspected thief. Eventually, Henne helped to hold the guy for police.

And Henne has nothing but praise for his security guard who took early retirement from the Pittsburgh Police force.

“I was really impressed with Mike,” he said. “I sent an email to our staff and said, ‘our hero.’”

The suspected shoplifter is identified as Shawn Gent. He’s being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

More Shadyside News
More Reports by Paul Martino

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter