by Aaron Brom
ECM Sun Publishers
Message to criminals: You might want to turn around and do your dirty business elsewhere before crossing the Rogers city limits.
That’s because the citizens don’t want you there and are willing to put their well-being in jeopardy to make sure you don’t get away with your criminal intensions.
In less than a six-month span, Rogers residents went beyond their call of duty in apprehending two fleeing criminals. The first was when a group of neighbors encircled a suspect attempting to flee a Rogers neighborhood after dumping a stolen motorcycle during a police chase.
The latest incident happened Tuesday night, Aug. 14, at the Rogers SuperAmerica.
Resident John Daiker had just finished pumping gas into his van when he saw something very suspicious — a briskly walking person wearing a black hoodie with a bandana covering his face.
“I’m thinking this has to be a joke,” Daiker said. “Here’s this guy who seemed to be saying, ‘Don’t mind me, I’m going to rob the place.’ ”
At first Daiker thought the suspect might know the cashier and was playing a joke. But when the suspect waved a gun at the cashier, and then saw the cashier with a panicked face, he knew it was a real robbery.
“Then I hopped into my van to block the door. I yelled to another customer outside to call the cops,” Daiker said. “That’s when the suspect looked at me and got scared and freaked out a bit. He went to take off at the other exit.”
Daiker then went to cut off the suspect.
“At that point I was thinking if he pulled the gun on me I’d just step back, but if he didn’t, I figure he was super scared or (the gun) is not real,” Daiker said.
While the suspect was running away, the 6-foot-3-inch, 270-pound Daiker figured he could chase him. The suspect lost his footing and slowed enough for Daiker to come up with a plan. Being a former semi-professional football player, Daiker would “make like a linebacker” and tackle the suspect as hard as he could.
“I hit him hard,” he said. “He came out of his shoes. When he landed, his arm slammed on the ground and he wasn’t holding the gun anymore and I just grabbed it and threw it.”
It turns out the gun was a pellet or BB gun. Daiker then put the suspect “in a reverse front head lock” and waited for police.
He didn’t wait long, because unbeknownst to Daiker, Rogers Officer Daniel Ryan was staked out nearby, specifically watching SuperAmerica after the store had succumbed to three recent armed robberies.
Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen commended Daiker and Ryan for their actions.
“I praise Officer Ryan for a job well done,” he said. “Patrol cops could easily slough that off. But here he parks and was absolutely in the right place at the right time.”
Beahen counters some notions that Daiker acted on instinct.
“Was it just instinct? No. It was a planned, thought-out response to a crime in progress. Is what he did dangerous? Yes, we don’t encourage it. But the fact is he helped apprehend an armed suspect. To me, that’s incredibly brave and very commendable.”
Now that he’s had time to think about his heroic actions, Daiker said he’s glad he helped. He said if something bad happened, like the cashier getting shot, it would have weighed on his conscience.
“If someone needs help, that’s what you do. For me, there was no real option of not doing something,” he said.
The suspect is a 17-year-old white male from Fridley. Police also arrested the suspect’s accomplice, a 17-year-old white female from Shoreview who is suspected of driving the get-away car.
Beahen said the sheriff’s office is investigating and obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle, which is in Rogers, to see if evidence can be obtained to link the suspects to other armed robberies, not just in the metro but also in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, the Rogers City Council planned to recognize Daiker and Ryan for their actions.
Daiker, the stay-at-home father of one daughter and three sons, said part of his inspiration for taking action came, from all things, the Ultimate Fighting Championships.
“I really like John Bones Jones of the UFC,” he said. “I heard that right before one of his fights, a lady got mugged outside the arena and John chased him down. I get it now.”