Good Samaritan helps nab rehab home burglars in south city

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The people who call the intersection of Hartford Street and S. Compton Avenue home take pride in their street. They’ve taken steps to improve it and protect it.

The steps Joe Mooney took Wednesday night stopped criminals in the act.

“I heard a bunch of noise in the alley and inevitably when there's noise at night, you check it out and make sure everything is okay,” Joe Mooney said.

The house where the voices were coming from—just next door to Mooney—is being rehabbed. Mooney knew no one was living there.

“I went out and saw a couple guys and a pickup truck in the alley arguing,” Mooney said.

He said two others were walking through the backyard. When he confronted them, they told him they were moving stuff for a friend. Mooney didn’t buy it.

“As I saw that it was a brand new refrigerator with the stickers still on, I said, ‘No, you're probably not doing that,’” he said.

So Mooney went out to the alley, snapped a picture of the truck’s license plate and called police.

The crooks took off before police showed up, but thanks to Mooney, nothing was stolen. When you ask him where his gutsy move came from, Mooney just laughs.

“Stupidity more than anything,” he said. “I didn't think it through and stupidly confronted a bunch of guys who should not be confronted. By no means was it a smart move.”

What was a smart move was getting the license plate number. He said police used the plate number to catch at least one of the men involved. Police told Mooney the man may be responsible for a string of other rehab home burglaries in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.

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