CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Limping Lakewood Firefighter helps catch thief; Suspect apprehended at gunpoint [UPDATED]

A disabled Lakewood firefighter helped catch a shoplifter today, and the incident was caught on video. At approximately 3:00 PM this afternoon, Yaakov Fisgus was walking out of a local Home Depot when he spotted a man who had bolted out of the store with stolen merchandise worth several hundred dollars, setting off the alarms.

The limping firefighter gave chase, and blocked in the suspect attempting to flee with his vehicle.

At that point, an armed security guard and another unidentified person apprehended the suspect in his vehicle.

The suspect reportedly tried reaching for an item in his car, prompting the officer to draw his weapon.

The suspect can then be seen emerging from his vehicle and being placed under arrest.

“I was just trying to do the right thing to stop the guy,” Fisgus told TLS.

The Brick Police Department released the following details on Tuesday:

On 04/09/18 at approximately 1545 hours, Sgt. Paul Catalina, from the Brick Township Police Department, while off duty, was exiting his personal vehicle in the parking lot of the Home Depot (1722 Route 88). As he was exiting his vehicle he heard the audible sound coming from an activated anti-theft shoplifting device which drew his attention to the exit of the building.

While looking directly at the exit of the building he could hear the audible device getting louder and moving closer to him. He observed a white male subject, later identified as Brian Eckardt, white, male, 41 years old from Manahawkin, carrying two hard cases, one in each hand, commonly used to store tools. The cases still had the anti-theft wrap around them. An employee exited the building at this time walking behind Eckardt and was instructing him to return to the store. He started to walk faster and then started to run. Realizing Eckardt exited the store with the anti-theft shoplifting device intact and sounding, coupled with the Home Depot employee attempting to call Eckardt back to the store and him running away in response, Catalina ran in Eckardt’s direction and paralleled him through the parking lot because he believed he had stolen the merchandise.

Eckardt ran to a 2014 Hyundai Sonata bearing and started to enter it as Catalina caught up to Eckardt just as he opened the door to the vehicle and identified himself as a Brick Township Police Officer. By Catalina identifying himself as a Police Officer, it caught the attention of off duty Robbinsville Police Officer Matthew Hill who ran over to assist.

Catalina advised Eckardt he was under arrest and commanded him to exit the vehicle he was trying to escape in. Eckardt started his vehicle and put the vehicle into drive while Catalina simultaneously reached into the vehicle in an attempted to turn the vehicle off. Eckardt at this point put the vehicle into park. At this time Hill was able to assist Catalina in restraining Eckardt and place him under arrest.

Shortly after Eckardt was in custody Ptl. Prendeville, Detective Waleski, and Ptl. Wynn arrived on scene and Eckardt was turned over to them. A Milwaukee M18 Fuel Drill Kit, valued at $399.00 and a DeWalt Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit, valued at $199.00, were recovered.

Eckardt was processed and released on summons for Shoplifting, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Hypodermic Syringe.

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  1. Reaching for something in his car? Was a weapon ever found? Better to have called the cops with vehicle tags, etc., than to draw a gun like that.

  2. It turned out well, but this is not advised to run after a thief if are not trained or authorized. Better get the license plate number and leave it up to the cops. Don’t risk your life or the people around you if you do not know what you are doing.

  3. Security didn’t have weapons nor did security pursue. Story says a off duty fire fighter gave chase and 2 off duty officers one being a brick cop made the stop and arrest. After they identified themselves the suspect started his vehicle and put it into drive thus the weapon came out. Rightfully so.

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