Meridian Man Confronts Robber

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

"He was screaming and yelling and I knew he had a problem."

That's what Chet Thorne found himself confronted with Tuesday night. He stopped in to the Rite-Aid on Haslett Road in Meridian Township to pick up medicine for his wife.

That's when a man who apparently wanted access to narcotics started threatening store employees with a the long metal post from a bike seat.

"He was waving it," Thorne said. "[He] thought it was a weapon or something."

Not wanting to see anybody get hurt, Thorne says he approached the man and tried to talk to him. That's when he says the man dropped his bike post and started using the bike itself as a weapon.

"He hit me about three or four times with his bike on the side," Thorne said.

He says he tried to keep the man away from others in the pharmacy, trying to lead him down a narrow aisle -- until he discovered the man wasn't following.

The man was demanding access to the pharmacy safe and Thorne says, the prescription painkiller OxyContin.

"I turned around and looked and he had the pharmacist in the drive-thru, pinned against the window. And I said, 'Hey, that ain't going to happen. Get off him,' " Thorne said.

"Then he started coming back at me and took a couple more hits at me. And by that time I took my hat and glasses off and said, 'This is it,' and I hit him a couple of times. I just made him stay there."

Thorne says he was able to hold the man at the back of the pharmacy until police arrived and could take over.

Police aren't releasing the name of the suspect, who could be arraigned Thursday morning.

Thorne says he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"No," he said. "More people need to stick up for other people."

A modest message from a man one store employee says may have saved lives.


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