04:51 PM MDT on Saturday, July 18, 2009
BOISE –– A bizarre turn of events Friday afternoon in downtown Boise after a man steals another man's duffle bag.
Two bystanders pulled their guns to stop the crime.
Police say what started this was a case of petit theft.
One man is now accused of stealing a bag from a homeless man near the corner of Americana Boulevard and River Street.
Misunderstanding could lead to assault charges
It was after this occurred that Paul Brookhouse stepped in to make a citizens arrest.
He now faces possible felony charges.
"Somewhat confusing when it all was wrapped up," said Lt. Ron Winegar with the Boise Police Department.
On Friday afternoon just before one, Brookhouse says he witnessed a crime.
"The other guy grabbed a bag, a duffle bag and started running across the street. The one gentleman turned around and started yelling, ‘stop hey, stop that's my stuff’," Brookhouse said.
Brookhouse pulled his car over and intervened.
But in the heat of the moment this concealed weapons permit holder made an erroneous claim.
"I pulled my weapon and I told the gentleman, I made a mistake here, I said, "Boise Police. Stop. You're under arrest." So, he did, I asked him to get on the ground, we did all the hands behind your back thing. I frisked him and then held him at gun point until the police department got here," Brookhouse said.
Police identified the man Brookhouse stopped as 46-year-old John Dickey.
But before police arrived another man driving by saw Brookhouse holding Dickey at gun point.
He too held a concealed weapons permit.
"Saw that taking place and thought there was a crime happening and so he intervened, pulling his handgun and trying to detain the first citizen who had pulled the handgun to try and detain the initial suspect," Winegar said.
When police arrived they had both men put down their guns.
"While this citizen, this subject had good intentions in helping out with the crime, we just want everybody to be careful and realize the consequences of pulling a handgun, even if you have a legal and lawful permit,” Winegar said. ”It's always probably a better idea to be a good witness and call us and let us intervene.”
Brookhouse admitted to police he told the man that he was an officer.
He said it just came out because he wanted to stop him.
Because he said that, Brookhouse could face felony charges of impersonating a police officer.
He and the other man who drew his weapon could also face aggravated assault charges.
That decision will be left to the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
It's important to mention that neither of the men who drew their guns were arrested.
As for the suspected thief, John Dickey, he is charged with misdemeanor petit theft.
Boise Police say they are grateful that citizens jumped in to help stop a crime.
At the same time, they say that the guns didn't need to be involved, especially with this type of crime.
"If a police officer were making an arrest for petty theft or misdemeanor theft and pulled his gun and pointed it at someone with no apparent reason to do so, then we would certainly be under pretty heavy review for doing that," Winegar said.