TJ Maxx shopper tackles jewelry thief

Man tried to steal $26,000 worth of watches

Published On: Jan 23 2014 08:24:35 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 23 2014 08:24:59 AM EST
Video: Shopper tackles jewelry thief
EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, Fla. -

Police in New Jersey say it wasn't smart, but it helped stop a $26,000 jewelry heist.

Evesham Township officers say a masked man dressed in all black clothing walked into a TJ Maxx on Sunday and walked straight to the jewelry section.

Surveillance video shows the thief smash in a glass case using a landscaping rock. The video shows the man quickly filling a bag with $26,000 worth of watches.

When the thief tried to get away, the video shows a shopper rushing toward him and tackling him.

"The witness struggled with the suspect," Lt. Joseph Friel told KYW-TV. "He ripped off the suspect's jacket, mask and also the bag of watches he had."

After the struggle, the thief got away despite an expansive search by police.

Police say the good Samaritan, who is a retired airman, helped stop an expensive theft. However, Friel says people shouldn't follow this example in a similar situation.

"It is definitely something we do not recommend," Friel told KYW-TV. "It's not worth getting hurt."