SPOKANE, WA (KTRK) --A couple stopped a suspected thief from trying to raid their car by hitting him in the head with a bottle of sparkling cider.
The couple pulled into their driveway Tuesday night and saw a light on in another car they owned. So, Stacey Ellis retrieved a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling cider from the car she was sitting in.
The prowler, later identified as Samual Clopton, jumped out of the other car and started running down the street, according to Ellis.
What Clopton didn't know was that Gerald Ellis, Stacey's husband, used to run hurdles for the University of Oregon. He saw the man exit the couple's car and chased him down the road. He managed to tackle Clopton to the sidewalk.
"They're on the ground wrestling, and the guy's trying to get away, trying to talk: 'Let me go. Let me go, man. Let me just get out of here. I didn't really take much,'" Stacey Ellis said.
Police say the suspect pulled out what Stacey Ellis thought was a handgun and allegedly fired a shot, causing the woman to hit Clopton over the head with her bottle of cider.
The pistol was later discovered to be a BB gun.
Ellis said she felt she had to hit Clopton when she saw the gun.
"He pulled the gun on my husband. He had the pistol in his face, probably three inches from his face," she said.
Police arrived and arrested Clopton. He was taken to a hospital for minor injuries. Officers told the couple that the man's backpack was full of loot, including stolen garage door openers.
"A bunch of keys he had obviously taken from other people's cars, remote controls, clickers. So, he was just using those going around trying to see if the clickers would open someone's car, I'm sure," Gerald Ellis said.
The Ellises say it probably wasn't a good idea to go chasing after the prowler in the darkness, and the police agree they don't encourage people to confront criminals. However, the officers say in this situation, the couple did well.
KXLY reports that Clopton was charged with a count of robbery.