A Willimantic resident helped catch a would-be car thief by holding him at gunpoint until officers arrived, and police said it's not the culprit's first run-in with the law.
According to police, the resident noticed a strange man around his car in the area of 300 Walnut Street on Monday afternoon. He confronted the stranger, later identified as Tye Wiegel, 39, of Willimantic, but the man showed no signs of stopping.
"He was in his yard. The car was out in front of his house. Obviously, it's not the subject's vehicle. He told him to stop. The gentleman didn't," said Willimantic police spokesman Cpl. Stanley Parizo Jr. "He was now within the vehicle. That's when he went and got the pistol and detained the subject, who was still in the vehicle."
Police said the resident legally owned his handgun. Officers took over and arrested Wiegel on charges of sixth-degree larceny, criminal attempt to commit the crime and second-degree breach of peace.
According to Parizo, Wiegel is no stranger to the police department.
"This is not our first time dealing with him with car break-ins. He was just arrested not too long ago. He was also a suspect in a car break-in earlier today," Parizo explained.
Police said the homeowner was not hurt but cautioned other residents against confronting criminals.
"I understand people have the right to carry a firearm. We're all for it," Parizo said. "We just want residents to be careful when they're using that discretion to start chasing people down that are breaking into cars."
Wiegel is being held on a $5,000 bond and is due in court Tuesday.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com