Police warn against Sugar House man's actions in catching burglar

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Don't take the law into your own hands: That warning comes after a man used a little trickery to catch a burglar breaking into his home.

Many people are commending a man for being brave enough to protect his home, but Salt Lake City police officers see it differently.

"Luckily, in this situation, it turned out really well. But the potential for somebody to get hurt -- or even worse, killed -- is very real," says Salt Lake City police Lt. Melody Gray.

Police are thankful a burglar is off the streets. They just don't know if this was the best way to go about it.

On Monday, a couple -- who didn't want to be identified -- returned to their Sugar House home near 1200 East and Warnock Ave. to find their front door had been kicked in. Their laptop, Xbox, some money and jewelry were gone.

"This guy just went through everything, took his time; so I felt like he was comfortable in our home," the husband said.

His instincts were telling him the burglar was coming back for more. So, on Monday night, the couple left the house just as it was while they were gone: newspapers piling up on outside and days worth of mail in the mailbox. But this time, something else would be there too.

"I knew that I couldn't lock the door so I had to put something in front of the door, just in case if he did come -- it would make some noise and alarm us," the husband said.

He put an air compressor against the broken door and plastic cups on top of it.

"The next morning, sure enough, he shows up around 9:30," the husband said. His wife heard the cups fall on their wood floor.

"I just said, ‘The cup fell.' And we both just started scrambling and running toward the front of the house," the wife said.

Her husband saw the suspect and didn't think twice.

"I just ran after him. I wasn't thinking about how big he was or what -- if he had any weapons or anything. I just knew I had to catch him," the husband said.

His wife called 911, worried for her husband.

He chased the burglar for a block and a half into an alley. With the help of three passers-by, he tackled the man, who police identified as Steven Young.

Police arrested Young for burglary and having drug paraphernalia.

"There are times when people break into peoples' houses and they are armed; and often times these people are drug addicts and they're desperate," Gray said.

Fortunately, desperation didn't result in injury. But the homeowner said he just did what any man would do to protect his home and his family.

"We caught him and, I'm thankful for that. Now me and my wife can sleep and not worry about someone coming back," he said.

Young is in the Salt Lake County jail, being held without bail.


Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales and Sandra Yi.


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