Grinch Almost Stole Christmas

Neighbors tackle burglar stealing gifts, hold him for police

When Christmas Eve burglars tried to steal gifts from under a Fort Worth family's tree, neighbors spotted them, gave chase, and held one of them on the ground until police arrived.

"It went down that fast," said neighbor Harry Crawford, who called 911.

Crawford said he saw three thieves breaking into the house across the street, and knew the family was out of town.

"My first thought was 'uh-oh,'" he said.

He also called another neighbor, Tyler Lewis, who lives next door.

"I went out the back door to see what was going on," Lewis said. He saw three men walking out with Christmas gifts.

"I said, 'Hey,' and they didn't respond," Lewis remembered a few hours later. "They were walking leisurely away. So then I said it louder. That's when they looked toward me and started running."

Lewis, dressed in his pajamas and slippers, hopped the fence and gave chase.

"By the time I was chasing them, I was just thinking about catching them."

Crawford continued looking out his window.

"As fast as they were running, they were either track stars or they were scared to death because they were splitting," Crawford said.

Two of them got away, but Lewis tackled the third.

"He was running," Lewis said. "I started to catch up to him in the street. And that's when I started to grab him."

Lewis said he grabbed the man around the neck, forced him to the ground, and pinned his arms in front of him. "I brought him all the way down," he said.

The thief struggled to get away at first, Lewis said, and then offered to give back what he had taken if he could go free.

No deal. Lewis said he responded with some profanity.

Police arrived within minutes and took the thief to jail. The search continues for the other two.

Officers said they are investigating whether the same thieves are behind a series of burglaries in the same South Hills neighborhood.

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