Men catch, hogtie thief
By Shavonne Potts
Thank goodness for a cell phone that’s lost all power. At least, that’s the sentiment shared by a group of men who apprehended a thief as he was breaking into their vehicles.
Stacey Keller, Tommy Kluttz and Johnny “J” Stewart caught a man Tuesday night after he took items from their vehicles. When police arrived at 701 Faith Road, the men had tied up the suspect.
The Salisbury Police Department charged Johnny Lee Wooten, 33, whose address is listed as the streets of Salisbury, with three counts of felony breaking and entering motor vehicles, three counts of misdemeanor larceny and one count of failure to appear.
Keller said his neighbor, Kluttz, went outside for his cell phone charger and found a man sitting inside his car with the interior light on.
“If his phone hadn’t been dead, we wouldn’t have even known,” Keller said.
The suspect bolted and Kluttz took off after him. Stewart joined in the chase.
“We chased him about 200 to 300 feet. He ran zig-zag up the road,” Keller said.
Keller said he tried to corner the suspect. The man fell a couple of times, but Kluttz managed to pin him on the ground in a neighbor’s yard.
“He kept hollering for someone. I didn’t know if he was by himself,” Keller said.
Keller called 911 while Stewart helped restrain the suspect. Kluttz had the idea to bind the suspect’s hands and feet. Keller, who is a contractor, went into his shop and brought back twist ties, which the men used to secure the would-be thief.
When the men checked their vehicles for missing items they found a cooler that contained all of the stolen items, including cash, vehicle registrations, other paperwork and a cell phone ó all of which were returned.
Keller said he was happy they were able to catch the man.
“If he did this to us, he would’ve done it to someone else,” he said.
Stewart’s vehicle was not broken into. He helped apprehend the suspect. Another neighbor, Guy Reist, had property stolen from his vehicle.
Wooten remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under $11,000 secured bond.