‘It was just instincts’: Sonora man speaks out after helping take down suspected thief

Local News

SONORA, Calif. (KTXL) — A Sonora man said he didn’t hesitate to help when he tackled an alleged thief running from police through a Sonora store on Monday. 

“I heard the yelling and the screaming, and the guy running towards us, I knew there was something going on, you could see it in his eye,” Tim Longson, 61, told FOX40.

Longson told FOX40 he was picking up his prescription medicine at a pharmacy when he heard a commotion and saw a man running towards him and several seniors waiting in line with officers running in the distance. 

“It was just instincts to help people out,” Longson said.

Longson and another man held the suspect down until officers caught up and arrested 24-year-old Joseph Rizzuto.

“Back in June 29, Mr. Rizzuto was said to be in the Jamestown area, and had committed a burglary but was able to elude law enforcement on that day,” said Officer Thomas Brickley.

Brickley, the spokesman for the Sonora Police Department, said they’re thankful for the help but they want to discourage people from getting involved in police business. 

“Although we do appreciate Mr. Longson’s efforts that day, it is important to know that we don’t want you to put yourself in jeopardy,” Brickley explained. “You can always be a great witness, record the incident and just be able to give us good witness statements.”

Longson said he’s no vigilante, but he’d do it again in an instant.

“You need to help out when can, you know? Absolutely, if I ever see a cop in distress or anything, absolutely I would stop and help him in a heartbeat without even thinking about it,” Longson told FOX40.

Rizzuto was booked into the Tuolumne County Jail for his outstanding warrants as well as additional charges of resisting arrest and shoplifting.

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