KCK man catches armed thief breaking into work lot, holds him down until police arrive

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kirk Mata stopped by his work lot Saturday and saw someone who shouldn't be there, wearing clothes that weren't his.

The shirt was Mata's along with the trucks and gear the stranger was trying to steal.

"He broke into every truck," Mata said.

He runs Turner Tree, and the lot is where he keeps his trucks and a storage container. He said the suspect was there to do damage.

"He was kind of just crouched over really weird," Mata said. "I come this way running, and when I ran, I just put a knee in his side."

That's when Mata said he noticed the man had a gun.

"I could've got shot," he said. "I took the gun from him and held him down, and I just threw the gun."

Mata stood over the thief, waiting for police to get there.

"There was just an array of stuff everywhere," Mata said. "He defecated in the lot."

Police said the suspect left a trail of destruction.

"He broke the whole column on the truck," Mata said.

He said this criminal will cost him thousands of dollars and countless hours of cleanup.

"It hurt," Mata said, "but it was satisfaction catching him."

Mata is a black belt and teaches American Jujitsu and self-defense classes in the metro. Although his instinct was to react toward the threat, he urges others to be more cautious.

"If they have a weapon just, your stuff isn't worth your life," Mata said. "So just retreat and call the police."

Mata said he and surrounding businesses plan to install cameras to keep out the criminals.

As for the suspect, he's being held in the Wyandotte County jail on charges including burglary to a vehicle and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon.

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