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Marine thwarts theft during state bar exam break

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s only the second day on the job for Joseph Rupp and he's already turning heads with a heroic story.

The aspiring attorney recently started a new job as an apprentice at Fontenot Law in Bountiful, while he awaits his results from the Utah State Bar Exam.

“There’s a lot riding on this,” Rupp said.

Rupp graduated from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in December and for the last two months, he’s been studying for the bar exam.

“It’s pretty grueling; six hours of testing for two days straight,” Rupp said.

Last week, he finally sat down at the Utah Bar Office to take it. But during Rupp’s 30-minute break outside in the parking lot, he noticed something strange.

“I was out in my car eating my lunch….when I saw him I was like he doesn't belong here,” Rupp said.

He spotted a man rummaging through cars, on the prowl for property. Rupp snapped a photo, then chased after the man who appeared to have stolen a computer and laptop out of vehicle parked in the lot.

“I chased after him and he was running, but he wasn't running that fast,” Rupp said.

Rupp didn’t hesitate to take action. He said it’s an instinct that’s in his blood.

Practicing law is his second career. His first career: 27 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. When Rupp saw the thief, he said he didn’t hesitate to take action.

“I grabbed his arm and said give me the stuff back give me that computer,” Rupp said.

The stolen electronics were recovered and given back to the rightful owner just in time for Rupp to finish the second portion of the exam.

After Rupp retrieved the items, the man accused of stealing the goods fled before police arrived.

“I'm going to blame him and the person who left their car unlocked if I fail the bar. That will be my excuse,” Rupp said jokingly. Rupp will find out the results of his test next week.

If you have any information in the case, call the Salt Lake City Police.


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Nicole Vowell


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