Good Samaritans catch alleged cash register thief in action - KPTV - FOX 12

Good Samaritans catch alleged cash register thief in action

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A man now faces several charges after he allegedly stole a cash register from a popular restaurant in Milwaukie.

Robert Finanders Jr. grabbed a cash register on Sunday morning, tore it from the front counter inside Hale's Restaurant along Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard, then took off, deputies said.

Some good Samaritans made sure he didn't get away with it.

Robert Catlin and his family had just ordered their food inside the restaurant and were sitting in the booth right behind the front desk, he said.

Lloyd Buckley and his family were waiting to be seated, he said.

"Probably three to five minutes later is when everything started," Buckley said.

"There was stuff falling everywhere," Catlin said. "I leaned out and saw the guy running, and so I took off after him."

Both men said that Finanders dropped the cash register after he bolted out the front door and ran back to a Dodge van that was parked across the parking lot. The van had been stolen from a flower shop in Northeast Portland on Friday afternoon, police said.

"He got in the van, locked the doors and tried to get away," Catlin said. "Hit a parked car."

"He was stuck to the other car," Buckley said.

Catlin and Buckley said they knew that was their chance to catch him. 

"I just ripped him out of the front seat, threw him in the back, put a forearm on him and laid on him," Catlin said.

"I was just leaning across his lower body and had his arm in a position where he couldn't do anything," Buckley said.

Deputies arrived at the scene and took Finanders into custody. They later found a knife in the van, investigators said. 

Catlin and Buckley said it was simply instinct that prompted them to step in.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time," Buckley said. "That's why we do it."

"It didn't really affect me until it was all over," Catlin said. "And then it was just like 'Whoa!'"

Catlin and Buckley had both gone to the restaurant on Sunday morning with their families to celebrate birthdays, they said. Buckley's birthday is Sept. 16. Catlin's mother-in-law had her birthday on Sunday.

"Happy birthday, mother-in-law," Catlin said with a laugh.

Catlin and Buckley were not hurt.

The owner of Hale's Restaurant, Brian Hale, said he's thankful for them and everyone else who stepped in to help.

"It's reassuring to know that people are willing to step up, you know?" Hale said. "Everything was against the guy. It's like he wanted to get caught."

Records obtained by FOX 12 show Finanders has a lengthy criminal history dating back to the late 1980s.

Finanders was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on charges of first-degree theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He also had a parole hold warrant out of Multnomah County, deputies said. His bail is set at $15,000. 

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