SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A citizen took things into his own hands by confronting a thief rummaging through his car. Now, Maury Werth told us what he did and why.
This whole incident was caught on surveillance video.
"Nobody likes a thief. Who likes coming out and seeing their stuff stolen or having something missing when you really need it?"
Werth said confronting this man was a no-brainer for him. He said he's tired of thieves stealing from hard-working people.
You see it all on video. A man in a white t-shirt slowly walked up to Maury Werth's truck. He looked in the back. Shortly after, he opened the passenger door. After calling the police, Werth decided to act.
"I crept down the stairs, I got behind the van," Werth said. "Soon as I pulled the door open, he went to go turn around. I shot him a good kidney shot. He tried to turn around and come out of there and went to hollering for someone to call the police. That's when I just grabbed him and wrapped him up."
Werth put him in a choke hold until police got there. The man—identified as Jawan Smart—was shown in pictures taken right after. We asked Werth if he had any fear confronting Smart.
"There's some because you don't know the situation you're getting into. I know I had two knives in my truck that he could have gotten to. I was willing to take that risk," Werth said.
Werth said others caught in a similar situation should weigh the risks themselves. Police agreed and said doing this is a personal choice. Calling the police right away is the most important thing.
"We don't want to discourage that, but we do want them to know that there is a risk involved in that, and the police officers, we're here to take that risk to make sure citizens don't get hurt, don't get injured," said Lt. Alexander Tobar with SCMPD.
For Werth, the decision to confront Smart was worth it.
"There's $10,000 worth of material in the back of this truck right now. I can't just go replace that tomorrow if you steal it from me. If I can catch you, if you're stealing from someone, and I can get ahold of you, I'll hold you until the police get there. That's just what's going to happen," said Werth.
The good news here is it all ended safely. Smart was in the back of a police car, and Werth's stuff was safe in the back of his truck.
Werth said this isn't the first time he's tried to catch someone stealing. Smart remains in the Chatham County jail charged with entering an auto.