A man tried taking more than a can of soda from a pop machine, but he did not get away without a fight. At 8 p.m. on Thursday, a man who walked into Brandon Coin Laundry, caught Jesse Duncan's attention. Duncan, a dispatcher for Med-Star Paramedic Ambulance, was at his desk watching the feed from surveillance cameras. Med-Star is next door to the laundromat and both businesses are owned by the same man. A half hour later, the man returned and apparently began to bang on a pop machine.
"So, I figured, OK, his dollar was stuck or his pop was stuck," Duncan said.
Using a screwdriver, the suspect broke into the machine, and tried to leave. Then Duncan, who practices mixed martial arts fighting, left his desk and walked next door and confronted the man.
"I basically said, you know, 'What are you doing? Why are you stealing from here when you're on camera when it says 24-hour surveillance. What are you doing?'" Duncan said.
Brady: What did he say?
Duncan: He says, 'I have kids!'
The man tried running past Duncan, who grabbed him and wrestled him to the floor. He pulled off the man's sweatshirt, and put him into a headlock. The sweatshirt is now evidence in the investigation.
"Just instinct, I guess," Duncan said, with a laugh.
The confrontation continued outside, and Duncan chased the suspect through the parking lot, but he got away with an estimate of more than $800. Duncan called 911. The Brandon Police Chief believes the crime is connected to a string of similar pop machine thefts, and said the video is a big help in this on-going investigation.
The video also shows the suspect casing the place before committing the crime. Duncan said at one point, you can see him hiding what appears to be a set of tools in a garbage can, which he used later on to break into the pop machine.
Duncan's boss, Jay Masure, does not recommend anyone get physical with a suspect in action, buy said he is proud of his employee.
"It's one of those things that just happened and at the end of the day, nobody got hurt. I believe we're going to find this person," Masur said.
Duncan was not looking for a scuffle, and did not even know the suspect was trying to steal money from the machine. Though it took some nerve to stand up the man, Duncan did not think anything of it at the time, because he just wanted to help. However, seeing the whole thing on video is a little more intimidating.
"Very weird, seeing it all happen," Duncan said. "After all the adrenaline wears off, you're like, 'Wow, that just happened.'"