Fleeing Shoplifter Surrenders To Marine Vet In His Dress Blues

news
Photo via Facebook

When a shoplifter decided to snag some swag from a Walmart in Plano, Texas, on Dec. 9, he committed a critical intelligence error: The local Marine Corps League was hosting a Toys for Tots donation drive in front of the business.


And you know what that means: There were Marines on hand — including at least one former gunnery sergeant who’s clearly kept up with daily PT since getting out.

When Marine veteran Nathan Hanson saw fellow volunteers chasing a man out of the store last Saturday, his first thought was that the thief had stolen from Toys for Tots, an annual-Corps sponsored campaign to collect new and unwrapped Christmas gifts for children in the community, according to KXAS-TV, a Fort Worth, Texas-based NBC news station.

“I just saw some of our other volunteers trying to grab this guy,” Hanson, who served in the Marines from 1996 to 2010, told Task & Purpose via Facebook messenger. “So I assumed maybe a volunteer had set their Toys For Tots collection bucket down and maybe he had grab cash out of it.

Ho-ho-ho nope, not on my watch, Hanson must have thought as he took off in pursuit — never mind that he was decked out in his dress blues, down to the slippery soles of his Corfam shoes.

Hanson pursued the alleged shoplifter, 25-year-old William Horn, through traffic and across an intersection. But those leather kicks aren’t made for running — a fact a trio of devil dogs discovered in 2015 — and while pounding the pavement, Hanson slipped.

"I fell on my face when I got over there,” Hanson told NBC. “And then I got up and I yelled at him, 'You're not getting away, I'm going to catch you!'"

With a patrol car headed in Horn’s direction, and Hanson closing in along with a fellow Marine vet, Alisia Dunning, the thief slowed his roll. Who knows: Maybe he was familiar with other stories about Marines who pursued would-be thieves. Or he was just weighed down by the $91 in random electronics equipment he swiped from Walmart.

Related: These Marines In Their Dress Blues Chased Down 3 Suspected Thieves »

"He realized he couldn't get away, and at that point he slowed down and stopped and said, 'I give up, I'm sorry,'" Hanson told NBC. "He got down, and I just waited there until the Plano Police Department came over."

In the pursuit, Hanson tore his uniform and lost his cover… but a Facebook fundraiser launched to replace his uniform items raised more than $500 in just a few days.  Hanson, embarrassed by the attention, told Task & Purpose that the extra funds would be donated back to Toys for Tots.

"Once a Marine, always a Marine," Dunning told NBC. "It's our duty to take care of those that are in need. Even though Walmart is not necessarily a person, no one deserves to be stolen from."

Update: The gunnery sergeant has weighed in on T&P;'s Facebook page with some interesting new details.

WATCH NEXT:

Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) commanded the air campaign of Desert Storm (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.

Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.

"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."

The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.

Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.

Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.

Read More
Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar (U.S. Army photo)

The Navy SEAL accused of strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was promoted to chief petty officer two months after Melgar's death, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.

Read More
Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit and in his Air Force uniform Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (Air Force illustration by Devin Doskey)

When it comes to saving the world, sometimes one uniform just isn't enough. At least, that's what seems to motivate Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, who, in between coordinating vehicles for security forces at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., dresses up as a Star Wars bounty hunter and volunteers at community fundraisers.

"One of my coworkers introduced me to costuming and showed me there are organizations out there who use it for charity work," said Neri in a Jan. 21 article by Devin Doskey, public affairs specialist for the 341st Missile Wing.

"As a cop, I love being able to help people, but upon discovering I could do it while being a character for Star Wars, I was hooked," said Neri, who is the NCO in charge of vehicle readiness for the 341st Security Forces Support Squadron.

Read More
A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing is towed across the flightline at March Air Reserve Base, California, Jan. 7, 2020. (Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)

March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.

"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.

Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.

Read More
A KC-46A Pegasus during testing with a C-5M Super Galaxy for the first time on April 29, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Christian Turner)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Protracted delays on Boeing's new KC-46 tanker could leave the Pentagon with a shortage of refueling capacity, the head of U.S. Transportation Command warned on Tuesday.

Read More