Ogden Mayor, Awakened by Burglar, Puts Man in Headlock

Ogden Mayor, Awakened by Burglar, Puts Man in Headlock

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Don't mess with the mayor. Mayor Matthew Godfrey tackled a man who tried to steal a bicycle from his shed -- then discovered the would-be thief was a neighbor he knew well.

"He's from a family that we know and love and respect. They're good friends of ours, and they just have a wayward child," Godfrey said. "I taught this young man in church."

Godfrey and his wife were awakened at 2:56 a.m. Wednesday when somebody tried to break into their house through a side and then a rear door. Godfrey jumped out of bed, checked on his children, then went outside.

"He was heading across the front lawn riding a bike of ours," Godfrey said. "I ran him down and tackled him, wrestled him and put him in a headlock."

And Godfrey is "half the burglar's size," marveled Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner in a slight exaggeration.

Godfrey, a long-distance runner, stands 5-foot-4 and weighs 110 pounds "dripping wet," the chief said.

Richard Poorman, 20, weighs 170 pounds on a 5-foot-10 frame. "This comes down to what he's always preached to the community: 'Get involved, you can make a citizen's arrest,"' Greiner said. "I don't encourage people to do that, I really don't, but helping us is always a good thing."

Poorman was arrested for investigation of burglary, robbery, public intoxication, illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor and possession of marijuana -- "we'll stop there," Ogden police Lt. Scott Sangberg said.

Greiner said Poorman was awaiting trial on charges involving two previous garage burglaries and should have been in jail, but a judge released him without bail pending the trial.

After Godfrey's wife called 911, Ogden police arrived to see the mayor holding down the man.

"I guess I feel like it's part of my job getting the bad guys off the street," chuckled Godfrey, whose only injury was a cut behind his right ear.

The mayor has made reducing crime in Ogden an issue in his re-election campaign and said the incident was evidence of the value of neighborhood watches. "People just being vigilant, making a stand, is part of the reason why we've had such huge reductions in crime," he said.

Asked if it was wise to take on an intruder in an early morning break-in, Godfrey said he would encourage others to let the police handle it.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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