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Ray Duckler

Ray Duckler: ‘Monitor’ columnist fights intruder off property

’Twas five weeks before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a golden doodle named Brady.

Or anyone else, for that matter, in the O’Shea family early yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, Tim O’Shea was busy outside, in his black spandex cycling outfit, throwing F-bombs and right hooks, wondering if anyone would call the cops as he pummeled the guy who had tried to steal cash from his car.

“I punched him three times in the side of the head as I’m screaming, ‘Someone call the police, someone call the police,’ ” said O’Shea, who lives in the South End and works in human resources for an investment company.

“No light comes on anywhere, no neighbors hear it, my wife is sound asleep, my son and the dog, who are right above in the window of the second floor above where the whole scuffle happened, didn’t hear a thing. They’re all nice and tucked in, and I’m taking care of some front lawn justice at 5:30 in the morning.”

O’Shea made light of his

run-in with a young man who had not been caught as of press time last night. A humorist who freelances for the Monitor, O’Shea writes about everyday life with wit, sarcasm and irony.

Now, perhaps, he has the mother of all plots for his work.

And while O’Shea had fun speaking to a fellow columnist about his ordeal, the underlying current was terror, not jokes.

“I run and tackle him, which in hindsight might have not been the smartest thing to do,” O’Shea said “It’s really unnerving to think he was right there, close to coming in the house.”

Here, according to O’Shea, is the recap.

He awoke at 5:09, like he always does on Tuesdays and Thursdays, his mornings to work out on a stationary bike at the Pillsbury Building.

Thus the spandex.

O’Shea went outside in the cold and dark to get his morning paper, like always. He helped his neighbor, an elderly woman, by putting her paper on her porch, as usual.

He opened the garage door, went inside to scan the paper then hit the internet to read about Monday Night Football and other tidbits in the news.

Like he always does.

“I got distracted and I look at the clock and it’s 5:27,” O’Shea said. “So I thought I better hustle or I’d be late for class. I grabbed my water bottle and went outside to the garage.”

There, with his neighbors and family sawing wood, O’Shea saw a strange mountain bike on the garage floor, and a strange figure in a hoodie looking around his wife’s car, on the passenger side.

O’Shea thought it might be his wife, Kathleen, but then quickly remembered that his wife “never gets up early. Ever.”

“I realized what was going on,” O’Shea said. “I scream and he brushes past me and starts to go across the lawn and I run and tackle him.”

O’Shea threw three right hands, nailing the guy on the side of his head after the two fell to the ground. Then the guy got up and O’Shea hit him a fourth time, again on the side of his head.

The whole time, O’Shea said he was screaming for help, and the whole time he said everyone remained asleep.

Then the guy got up, dropped his knapsack and took off, toward a wooded area near Iron Works Road.

O’Shea called 911, shortly after 5:30, at which time reality hit him as hard as one of his hooks.

The Concord cops came, then the state police and a K-9 unit. Soon a police helicopter buzzed over the area and was still buzzing as late as four hours after the incident.

“It was a 30-second exertion,” O’Shea said, “but it felt like I ran a marathon.”

O’Shea never got a good look at the guy, although he picked someone from a mug shot, out of a group of eight photos. He said the guy was maybe 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, with a scraggly beard and dark hair.

“I never looked at his eyes and he never looked at my eyes,” O’Shea said. “The whole time he was trying to move his face away so I couldn’t see him.”

The police found coins in the knapsack, estimated by O’Shea to be about $60 worth. He said nothing was stolen from his wife’s car.

He also said his 17-year-old son, Sam, 12-year-old daughter, Maisie, and Kathleen were well rested later yesterday morning.

Sam, in fact, had chocolate chip pancakes. Brady the dog slept late, too.

“He’s not a very good watchdog,” O’Shea said. “We’re going to have to have a conversation with him.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter
@RayDuckler.)

By his own account, “I scream and he brushes past me and starts to go across the lawn and I run and tackle him.” O’Shea threw three right hands, nailing the guy on the side of his head after the two fell to the ground. Then the guy got up and O’Shea hit him a fourth time, again on the side of his head. Sounds a lot like assault, a crime. You do not have the right to chase after and assault anyone, who is not threatening you with physical harm. While I may have reacted similarly, or not, the laws enacted by the people we vote for, dictate this to be a criminal action.

A canine unit AND a helicopter? Hmmm...a little much you think??

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