SEATTLE - When 74-year-old James Padden came home last week, he heard noises coming from the back of his house near Green Lake. Soon he came face to face with three teenage burglars. "I knew what they were up to as soon as I saw them," said Padden.
They took off, and Padden went right after them. "I started chasing them and they cleared my fence, which is a 6-foot fence," said Padden, who played semi-pro football in his younger years. During the chase, he was able to call 911. "She said, 'Are you chasing them?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'I want you to stop.' I said, 'No,'" he said. "I wanted to know where they were going." Padden eventually lost track of the teenagers after chasing them for about a block and a half.
Police caught up with the teens. They said they caught 18-year-old Cesar Alejandro Pena-Bermejo hiding on the ground near a parked car. All three teenagers were taken into custody.
Pena-Bermejo was released from jail on bond, but detectives say more charges against the teens are pending. They believe that Pena-Bermejo was involved in at least three other burglaries in the area. Among the things the teens allegedly tried to steal was a wedding ring set.
Padden said he wasn't afraid the teens were going to fight back when he gave chase. "I think they were scared, I mean, because I didn't stop," said Padden. "I was mad. I was really upset. It was an invasion of my privacy."
Even though police were able to catch the teens, because of Padden's help, officers don't recommend victims chase after suspects. They say people should call 911 and be good witnesses.