Ft. Lauderdale man tackles crook caught on camera breaking into - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Ft. Lauderdale man tackles crook caught on camera breaking into car

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Surveillance footage captures one of the subjects. Surveillance footage captures one of the subjects.
Homeowner Norm Kent and his black Labrador Shadow. Homeowner Norm Kent and his black Labrador Shadow.
John Fugate says he confronted one of the subjects. John Fugate says he confronted one of the subjects.
51-year-old Michael Fitta 51-year-old Michael Fitta

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A Broward County man took matters into his own hands after he spotted two men breaking into his friend's car outside his friend's Victoria Park home, tackling and holding down one of the subjects until police arrived.

Laid up after knee surgery late Wednesday night, homeowner Norm Kent was watching the Dodgers-Angels baseball game on TV when he spotted one of the subjects breaking into his car outside his townhouse, located along the 200 block of Northeast 17th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

"A 4 to 4 [score] at the bottom of the eighth inning, sitting here with my [black Labrador] Shadow watching the ball game, but I have these cameras," said Kent. "I look outside, and I see an intruder breaking into my car, and my dog starts barking."

Kent could only call for his friend John Fugate, who is helping to take care of him. "It upsets, especially when it's happened multiple times in our neighborhood," said Fugate.

Just before Fugate ran outside, surveillance cameras captured the subjects, one breaking into Kent's car and the second lurking around the driveway. "And this guy is still in the car, and there I am," said Fugate. "I got his foot ... in the bottom of the [car] door, and I'm trying to hold it closed, and I'm telling him, 'Really? You're going to break into people's cars? You don't know what people work for. You don't know what people have.'"

The subject then attempts to escape from the passenger side of the vehicle, then tries to flee through the driver's side. "And then we get to start tussling; I put him in a headlock right there, reverse headlock, and I just drag him around," said Fugate. "I drag him around to the back of the car, and I put him down."

Fugate's partner, who was also inside Kent's home, is then seen coming outside holding a shovel and looking out for the second subject.

Meanwhile, Kent and his dog remained seated on the couch, watching the dramatic confrontation unfold on the surveillance camera. "I'm on the phone with police dispatch, 911, going, 'Someone's breaking into my car, but there's a fight out front," he said. "Seconds seemed like hours at a time like this."

What Fugate and his partner did not know was that the second subject was able to get away. Surveillance footage shows him riding by nonchalantly on his bicycle.

Police arrived on the scene and took 51-year-old Michael Fitta into custody. "He's begging, pleading, and I just told him the same thing I've told you: He had no right, [he's] stealing from people, he ain't got nothing to steal from [us]," said Fugate.

"Not to mention interrupting me watching the Dodger game," Kent said, "Which is a federal crime in and of itself. You may not know this."

Fitta remains in the Broward County Jail. He is facing a charge of burglary to an unoccupied conveyance.

His accomplice is still at large.

If you have any information on the second subject's whereabouts crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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