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Birmingham Police Chief Stops Thief While Out On Daily Walk

October 7, 1987 GMT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Police Chief Arthur Deutsch interrupted his daily constitutional to catch a thief.

Deutsch said he and his wife, Elaine, were walking along a street near his home Tuesday evening when he saw two men standing behind a convenience store.

″I saw that they were casing the store,″ Deutsch said.

Mrs. Deutsch walked on to a nearby fire station while the police chief watched the two men. A few moments later, the two men burst out of the store carrying alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.

″I yelled, ‘stop, police’ and they turned around,″ Deutsch said.

But Deutsch was not carrying a gun and was dressed in sneakers, shorts and a sweat shirt, so the men kept running. The chief said he never carries a gun while he’s out walking or in his office at work.

Deutsch ran into the fire station and commandeered the personal car of a fire official, who joined the chase.

They caught up with one man in a vacant lot and Deutsch wrestled him to the ground, suffering slight knee and back injuries in the process. The suspect was unarmed.

Charged with theft of property was Marvin Humphrey, 18, who was being held Wednesday on a $300 bond. The second man got away. Deutsch said police recovered ″a good portion″ of the items taken from the store.

Deutsch, who was treated and released from a hospital, said there was nothing special about the arrest.

″I’m chief of police,″ he said. ″I was just doing my duty.″