Crime doesn't pay — and it can't outrun a group of Marines, even if they are decked out in dress blues.
That’s the lesson three suspected cell phone thieves learned Dec. 22 when they targeted victims at a mall in Westland, Michigan, about 20 miles west of Detroit mall. What they didn’t know was that three local Marines home is that the mall was also being worked by three Marines who were home for temporary recruiting duty were there working.
The leathernecks were heading out when they saw three men burst out of the mall. A teenage girl screamed that the men had stolen something from her. She later told police they had surrounded her and taken her cell phone.
Without hesitation or discussion, the Marines gave chase through the parking lot and across a busy intersection stacked with Christmas traffic. Though the teenage suspects got off to a fast and early start, they were no match for the Marines.
"Do you really think you can outrun three Marines?" asked Pfc. rivate First Class Blayne Edwards, who will soon wrap up his training and become a Low Altitude Air Defense, or LAAD, gunner.
Two suspects soon realized the effort was futile and gave up without a fight. The Marines surrounded them in a shopping center parking lot about 500 yards from the spot the chase started. The third suspect decided to press his luck, but was nabbed by a police officer near the store's entrance. The ordeal was first reported by Fox 2 Detroit.
While the effort garnered the cheer of onlookers, the trio was humble in describing the events to Marine Corps Times.
"I always try to do the right thing," said Pfc. rivate First Class Ryan Delaca, a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment. "That’s what Marines do."
Pvt. "I’ve always been raised to do the right thing and help those who can’t help themselves," said Private Alex Berezansky, who is in training to be a motor transportation operator, said he was "raised to do the right thing and help those who can't help themselves." He also spoke of his service's core values: — honor, courage, and commitment.
The Marines' response was proof that they've been trained to react to the unknown, said Staff Sgt. Randal Nelson, who runs aviation supply by trade but has been a recruiter for the past three months.
"We stress to these guys to be prepared for any situation, especially in a day and age when our enemy isn’t always wearing a uniform," he said. said Staff Sgt. Randal Nelson, who runs aviation supply by trade but has been a recruiter for the past three months. "Whether it is a small petty theft or something on a bigger scale, we make sure their head is already on a swivel and they are prepared for any situation.
The Marines said the police Police at the scene were thankful for their and complimentary for the Marine’s assistance. They found at least three other cell phones on the suspects that were believed to have been stolen.
"They are three of our finest, and I think that was definitely displayed during this event," Nelson said.