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Bronx AutoZone Staff Tackle Robber, Photog Arrives Before Police

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Apparently there's an AutoZone in the Bronx that gets hit with about four shoplifting attempts a day, and yesterday, one of them ended with two employees holding a thief in a headlock while simultaneously calling (and waiting for) the police.

At around noon, a homeless man set off a store alarm because he had taken about $80 worth of merchandise and put it in his bag. When the two store employees, Nelson Lozanda and Oscar Castelan, approached him, the man ran into the lot and held up a "filthy syringe," threatening to stab the two men and give them AIDS. Not taking the threat too seriously, the men chased and eventually tackled him a block from the scene. The tables were turned though, and the thief put Castelan in a headlock.

But then this happened: Onlookers were allegedly not happy about the scuffle, as some of them yelled to the two men, "It's not your store! Why do you care?" Maybe because stealing an Allen wrench and an electric drill is a pretty offensive crime, or maybe simply because they're tired of the four-times-a-day shoplifting attempts. The two employees ended up getting kind of tired, and the thief released his chokehold grip and fled. Where were those police they called, you say? The Post says they arrived "10 minutes too late."

They know this because one of their photographers arrived on scene before the police did. They also credit themselves with locating the suspect after the fight when he was "shuffling along East 138th Street," and though they don't mention if they turned him in, they do manage to get a quote from him: "They didn't have any right to do that to me. I'm homeless. I'm not going to steal from other homeless people. Better to steal from the store."
· 'Catch' of the day [NY Post]