This newly formed running club’s skills were really put to the test when they took on the challenge of catching a thief.
The running club, comprised of Kyle Cassidy, Natalie Herbert, and Samantha Oliver, never thought that they would ever encounter something like this. The group was waiting on their fourth member at lunchtime near campus when a man blew past them.
Assuming he was just a fellow runner and admiring his quick pace, it wasn’t until another man ran up to them a moment later saying the first guy had stolen his laptop and phone.
Not wasting much time, the trio looked at each other, and then took off. Like something out a movie, the group chased the thief through the streets of Philly, until they came to a construction site.
“It was just like a movie with giant machines and loud sounding ringing, and sparks flying everywhere,” Cassidy said. “We didn’t go in.”
Like any good chase movie, the next move was for the group to split up. Cassidy went around the site to cut off the other side while Herbert and Oliver canvassed around the neighborhood.
Mixed in with the campus buildings was a residential area and they found a house with a tall fence that seemed like the perfect place for the perp to ditch the items that he stole. The girls knocked on the door to let the occupants know what was going on when all of a sudden the criminal took off from behind the bushes in the front.
By this time Cassidy had joined back up with the girls. However, when he went to chase after the criminal a second time, he felt a snap in his calf and went down. Unable to continue due to what turned out to be a torn calf muscle, it looked like the chase was coming to an end.
When the suspect fled the bushes he ended up running right into the path of University of Pennsylvania police officers.
“We heard the officer yell to the other officers ‘It’s a running club. This guy tried to run from the running club.'” Cassidy said about the cops, who found the whole situation a little amusing.
The group is proud of their heroic movie-like chase, but when asked if they would do it again, they weren’t sure.
“It’s not something we’d recommend. We benefitted from safety in numbers, but also in an area that is relatively safe near a college campus in the middle of the day. It wasn’t necessarily the best thing to do but it ended up with a good outcome, and no confrontation.” said Oliver
The Division of Public Safety at the University wouldn’t recommend it either, stating that the best thing you can do is consider your own safety and alert local law enforcement.
As for Cassidy who was rushed to the hospital after the event, he is on the mend and starting running again soon with his favorite lunchtime running vigilantes.
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