Friday, March 07, 2008

Property crime turns into murder

I just read this USA Today news article, Man fatally hurt trying to stop Starbucks thieves, and reflected on the tragedy that it became.

CRESTWOOD, Mo. — Surveillance video from a Starbucks in a St. Louis suburb captures the moments before Roger Kreutz went from hero to tragic victim.

He stands in line behind a young man and woman at the coffee shop, where he's a regular customer. The young man fiddles with items on the counter while she orders a coffee, pays and heads out the door. The young man swipes the tip jar, and Kreutz, in the spur of the moment, gives chase.

ON THE WEB: KSDK-TV shows shop's surveillance video

What happened next is not caught on tape. Police say the two suspects, with the young man behind the wheel of a 1990s white Ford Taurus, ran over the Good Samaritan in the parking lot.

Kreutz, 54, died Wednesday at a hospital, two days after he was struck.

"I don't claim to understand it," police Chief Mike Paillou said at a news conference. He said detectives are following up on leads but asked for the public's help in identifying the suspects. He did not know what provoked them — "fear, confusion, being young?"

It's believed there was about $5 in the tip jar.

First of all, pray for the family of the victim. The lesson here, to me, is that crimes against property are not worth your life. If someone's committing a crime, and it isn't against a person, call the cops. Unless you're an officer, you shouldn't put your life at risk for anything short of protecting the safety of yourself or others. From read the rest of the article to learn about what a good guy this fellow was, making his death for a tip jar all the more tragic.

The first step in avoiding crime is to prepare for it, and protect against it, but I've often mentally rehearsed advised handing over a wallet rather than attempting to destroy a would-be mugger. If someone has "the drop" on you, there's no telling what they'll do, or how desperate they are. Make the decision now to fight for your life, but nothing short of that.

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