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Utes basketball: Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak detains alleged thief near Huntsman Center for police

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 8:41 a.m. MDT

Larry Krystkowiak coaches the Utah Utes during a men's basketball game against Oregon at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City Saturday, March 9, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Larry Krystkowiak coaches the Utah Utes during a men's basketball game against Oregon at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City Saturday, March 9, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak had quite a morning Saturday. While on his way to his office at the Huntsman Center, Krystkowiak detained a suspicious middle-age man who caught his attention by riding a bicycle and pulling another one near the arena around 7:30 a.m.

“He could have just probably dropped one of the bikes and outrun me on his bike, but he was dumb enough to stop,” Krystkowiak said. “Then I began my questioning and I kind of smelled a rat.”

After asking Krystkowiak if he planned to call the police, the man then inquired about whether the coach would give chase if he ran.

“I said, ‘Yeah. Not only am I going to chase you, but I’m going to tackle you. So why don’t you sit down on the sidewalk,’” Krystkowiak related.

The alleged thief complied and waited with the towering 6-foot-9 Krystkowiak until campus officers arrived. Police discovered bolt cutters and five cellphones in a bag the man was carrying.

“It felt kind of good,” said Krystkowiak, who didn’t have any additional details because he left the scene shortly thereafter to prepare for practice. He hopes to catch up with police Monday.

“I don’t know how smart it was,” Krystkowiak said. “You never know what a guy has got in his pocket or up his sleeve.”

However, Krystkowiak noted that a lot of stolen property in his neighborhood and thefts on campus had him on the lookout a little bit.

“I’ve always been a little eager to catch somebody so it was good,” he said.

Krystkowiak is especially sensitive to bicycle thefts. Back in his playing days he had two custom-made bikes that he used for training stolen out of his garage in Montana.

“So I’ve always kind of had a hankering to see if I could catch a bike thief,” he said.

Krystkowiak shared the experience with his Twitter followers Saturday evening, complete with a Barney Fife reference.

“Yeah. Don’t mess with the Utes,” he joked after posting the tweets.

Email: dirk@desnews.com, Twitter: @DirkFacer

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