A Christchurch business owner and tradies who performed a citizen’s arrest, tackling a thief to the ground after he allegedly stole motorcycle parts, are disappointed at the police response.
When Mike Creedy stopped to visit the motorcycle store about 3pm Monday, four men were running after an alleged thief. Creedy tackled him to the ground and phoned police.
“The guy was running down the middle of the street with an armload of stuff. I took a couple more steps and stopped him,” Creedy told the Herald.
“He put up a big fight. I just had enough. I put him in a headlock, sort of tripped him backwards and put him on the ground on his back. That was enough for the four guys, one on each arm and one on each leg to actually hold him down,” Creedy said.
“He kept yelling, ‘if the police come I’m going to go back to prison’.”
But police told Creedy and his workmates to “let him go”.
“The police asked if he had any weapons and I said ‘not that I can see’. I’m disappointed in the police. We had the guy, he could have been prosecuted, but he got away scot-free.
“We just stepped back and let him go and he took off down the street,” Creedy said.
Christchurch Metro Area Commander Superintendent Lane Todd said police couldn’t attend every callout “due to the nature of police work”.
Todd said police had to prioritise cases where life or safety was at risk, and other calls at the time were more important.
“Police staff were called to several high-priority family harm events while this theft was occurring,” he said.
“The advice from the Police emergency call-taker at the time to ‘let the offender go’, was to ensure the safety of the witnesses.”
But the affected business owner, who asked the Herald not to name him or his business, said it appeared police “couldn’t be bothered” to respond.
“It’s hard enough as it is without people taking stuff. We were disappointed [with the police response],” he said.
“Where’s the protection for the people offended against? It’s poor. It appears the police can’t look after us.
“You’d assume someone would at least follow up today.”
After the Herald asked police to comment, the owner said officers contacted him saying he could file a report online, which he would do.
Todd said police would continue to investigate the matter.
“Fortunately, staff at the business were able to retrieve the stolen property.”
Creedy’s boss in Auckland, David Clarkson, praised him for his quick action - saying he understood it was a “fantastic tackle, apparently”.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.