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February 18, 2009



Oh, no, you don't!

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No one appeared to be at home one day last week when two men knocked on the front door of Patrick Rosario's house in Bellevue, Wash. Which probably is just what they'd hoped ... because they forced their way in and set about looking for items of value to steal. Happily for Rosario, they began upstairs, because he was in the basement, working on a project. He crept up the stairs until he could see through the crack under the door and realized that his flat-screen TV sets were being disconnected. Clearly, he had some decisions to make, and not a lot of time to make them. Should he confront the thieves or remain quiet and hope they didn't look in the cellar? Try to escape and call the police? He grabbed a hammer for protection, opened another door that led outside, and punched up 9-1-1 on his cellphone. Out of the basement, with the police dispatcher on the line, he noticed a white van parked in front of the house, no one inside, and exhaust belching from its tailpipe. It must be theirs; I'm going to take it, he told the dispatcher. Don't, he was advised. But Rosario opened the driver's side door anyway, slid in, and took off. He drove several blocks before stopping. Meanwhile, a witness saw the thieves emerge from his house and discover that their van was gone. They fled – but on foot and without the TVs and other valuables. At last word, they hadn't been caught, but the police have descriptions of both, and Rosario still has all his property. Officially, a police spokesman said what he did might not have worked "in another case." Privately, however, officers told him they thought his actions were "awesome."

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