Woman uses headlock, wedgie to thwart burglary

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 18 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

Yvonne Morris chased down a would-be car burglar Monday after he broke into an employee's car, background, gave him a wedgie and then put him in a headlock, holding him until police arrived to arrest him.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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Car burglars often fly by the seat of their pants when committing crimes. But a would-be burglar in Salt Lake City was caught Monday by the seat of his baggy pants — and his underwear.

Yvonne Morris ran after a man whom she had just found inside a car belonging to one of her employees. She chased after him, gave him a wedgie and then put him in a headlock before the man surrendered and waited for police to arrive to arrest him.

"I think he was surprised I was following him at all," Morris said.

The incident began Monday afternoon at Brickyard Animal Hospital, 1213 E. 3300 South, where Morris is the head technician.

Morris was sitting in her office next to a window when a man walked by that she said she immediately had a feeling about.

"I said, 'That man really looks like no good.' "

A few minutes later, Morris heard a car alarm going off. She looked out the window to see the back window of her head receptionist's car was broken out, and the man who had just walked past her window was sitting in the front seat.

Morris told her receptionist to call 911 and then ran outside to confront the man. When she arrived at the car, the man stood up to confront her.

"I said, 'You might as well just sit down because the police are on their way. You're done. Caught,' " she told the man.

The man turned his back and started to walk away — then took off in a sprint, Morris said. But rather than let it go, and even though the man outweighed her by a lot, she ran after him.

The man tripped, giving Morris time to catch up, grab him and sit on him.

The man wiggled his way free and took off again. And again Morris pursued. She caught him again, this time grabbing hold of his shirt and jacket, which he then wiggled out of, she said.

The third time Morris caught up with him, she said she grabbed hold of the boxer shorts hanging out from his baggy pants — and pulled up.

"I gave him a good wedgie," she said. "That was the only thing available to grab on to."

Morris then put a headlock on the man and held him until someone from a neighboring business came out to assist.

"As soon as he was in the headlock he gave it up," she said. "I appreciate the fact he didn't swing at me."

Morris said she learned the headlock move from wrestling with her brother and from her husband, who is part of special security forces in Iraq.

"He's always trying to show me moves and I try not to pay attention. Apparently I must have learned them somehow," she quipped.

A few years ago, Morris said her own car was broken into.

"These kids have nothing better to do than steal from other people. … I couldn't let him go," she said. "I'm just glad nothing really important went missing and no one got hurt."

Frederick Baze, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of vehicle burglary, possession of stolen property and warrants.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com

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