Quick-thinking pastor helps apprehend auto burglar in Tyler - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Quick-thinking pastor helps apprehend auto burglar in Tyler

by Jamey Boyum

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A quick-thinking East Texas pastor helped apprehend an auto burglar this morning.  He wasn't alone. Several others joined in the foot chase.

It happened around 11:30 at the intersection of Paluxy and the loop in Tyler near the Feliciano Building. However, the first one in pursuit of the suspect was a local pastor in his office.

The Feliciano Building has mirrored windows. It doesn't occur to some that there are offices on the other side of that glass with people in them, and people tend to look out those windows.

So, when Gabriel Harris started looking in car windows and pulling on door handles, he was spotted by several of those people.

"And then he went outside of my view, and so I ran down the hallway and into a different office that faced that direction. At that point he became pretty blatant going in and out of cars looking at them," said a witness.

The local pastor, who wants to remain anonymous, ran downstairs.

But Melissa Thomas has a corner office and she saw what he missed. She saw that Harris "...actually tried to open one of the Lexuses, and it was locked so he went to the car next to it. And, it wasn't locked so he grabbed a purse real fast and he just started running," she said.

When the pastor got outside, someone yelled that the burglar had stolen a purse.

"I caught up to near him, and I yelled something to him. He threw the purse down and took off running through the gas station lot and across the loop," he said.

Others joined the chase which went  through several parking lots. They lost the suspect so they split up and were joined by Tyler Police. The two other men found Harris in a building, and he was trying to get away.

"And they brought him around and we all kind of wrestled him to the ground, and then I went to go get the police officer and she came and she handcuffed him."

The adrenalin rush was over. The purse was recovered. Everyone gave their statements.

And the pastor wished he hadn't worked out so much that morning. He wasn't expecting a cardio workout, too. 

Gabriel Harris is charged with Auto Burglary, which is a state jail felony because of his previous record.

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