Police: Sanitation Workers Catch Burglary Suspect - KMSP-TV

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Police: Sanitation Workers Catch Burglary Suspect

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Tampa, Fla.-Two sanitation workers in Tampa were in the right neighborhood at exactly the right time.

The two men's quick thinking led to a would-be burglar in handcuffs.

"We were, right place, right time," said Solid Waste Manager Michael Gordon. "Prevented a crime and prevented someone to get hurt."

That's exactly what happened to Michael Kowalke and his boss Michael Gordon on Thursday afternoon.

The men were picking up garbage along Lexington Court when they heard a teenage girl crying out for help.

"We saw this young girl come running out of her garage, screaming hysterical that somebody was trying to get her," Gordon said.

Mike Kowalke went into the house, and saw a window screen had been removed, then he saw the man identified by police as Matthew Oliver.

"I told him to stop, and he took off running. He went over the fence on the side of the house," Kowalke said. 

"I was standing by the front door when this person comes jumping over the back fence. Mike Kowalki came out of nowhere and tackled him knocked him down put him in a choke hold," said Gordon.

It wasn't over. Kowalke struggled with Olver, and Gordon saw Olver reach for a knife.

"It was a knife like a hand where you put your fingers into the grip. It was a long curved blade," Gordon said.

Without a second thought, Gordon jumped on Olver and got the knife.

"I applied more pressure from my knee on his chest, and he kept hollering, ‘let me go, let me go, I can't breathe. I told him you aren't going anywhere. You are going to jail," Gordon said.

The police showed up moments later and took him to jail.

"You've got to pay for your crimes," Kowalke said.

It could have ended differently. Michael Gordon wasn't even supposed to be with Kowalke, he just happened to spot him on his route and stopped to say hi.

"We were actually at the right place at the right time," Kowalke said.

For the pair, it was all in a day’s work.

"Knowing that you actually helped someone, it makes you have a good feeling," Kowalke said.

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