Driver catches theft suspect running away from Kroger

Kerry Johnson recognized as hero
Posted at 7:47 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 19:47:02-05

GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A trip to the Monfort Heights Kroger turned into an unexpected chase for one man who's now being recognized for helping catch a suspected thief.

Kerry Johnson says he was completing his part-time job as a driver for a nursing home making his final pick-up of the day.

“I came in at this exit off of North Bend," Johnson said.

A Hamilton County Deputy arrived about the same time.

"The Kroger employees came out of this exit and that's when they were waving for him come in," Johnson said.

The employees were trying to report a theft, but by that time the suspect was already running through the Kroger parking lot.

That's when Johnson's experience as a retired crime investigator kicked in.

"As I was driving by him I was assessing what he looked like,” Johnson said. “I could see he didn't have anything in his hands, I didn't have any reason to believe he had a weapon."

Johnson then decided to follow the suspect in his car.

"We just got lucky and I was there at the right time and place," he said.

After speeding ahead, he got a chance to hide out behind a nearby building just waiting to make a citizen's arrest.

"I jumped out and ordered him to get on the ground,” Johnson said.  “He looked at me. I think he was expecting to see law enforcement, someone in uniform."

The sheriff's department says it appreciates the help but doesn't recommend anyone take this risk.  

"We prefer people maybe help us out with giving us direction of travel, clothing description, so no one gets hurt," Lt. Keith Boeing said.

But this time, Boeing said, “it worked out really well. No one got hurt and the bad guy went to jail."

Sheriff Jim Neil rewarded Johnson with a challenge coin and a letter of appreciation.   Neil also thanked Johnson on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

"It was unexpected but very nice that they did that and appreciated that I helped a brother out. That's what we call each other in law enforcement," Johnson said.

Would he do it again?

“Oh sure. I would do it again. Yeah,” Johnson said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”