Shop owner tackles shoplifter

August 2, 2011 2:33:32 PM PDT
Nelson Lozada saw one shoplifting too many, and when he caught a man allegedly stuffing tools into a bag at the auto parts store where he works, Nelson chased the man for more than a block and tackled him.

Then, he held him in a headlock while dialing 911.

But before police arrived, the alleged thief broke free and wrestled Nelson's co-worker, Oscar Castelan, after reportedly threatening to stab them with a hypodermic syringe.

The melee ended moments later, only after a gathering crowd taunted the clerks, ordering them to back off.

Some neighbors we spoke with insisted the crowd was right.

"They went too far," said Abraham Jiménez, a neighbor.

"I'm not no hero, I was just protecting my store," Lozada said.

Late this afternoon, Lozada told Eyewitness News he simply did what he had to do.

"I would be with him, I think he did the right thing," said Wanda Balines, a neighbor.

All of the merchandise was recovered, but the NYPD says the alleged shoplifter remains at large and has yet to be arrested.

A spokesman for Autozone did not return phone calls made late Tuesday afternoon.