DOVER-FOXCROFT – Like any teenager, Chris Heretakis, 16, balked on Tuesday night when his father, John Heretakis, asked him to return to the family-owned Dover House of Pizza to retrieve the money bag he and his kid sister, Kara, 15, left behind after work.
The $355 in the bag was a lot of money for the family, and since the business had been broken into twice last week, John Heretakis didn’t want to take any chances.
Fuming when he heard what the kids had done, John Heretakis said, “Chris, go get the money.”
Chris had other plans; he wanted to watch the ESPN highlights.
“I’m not going back,” he told his father. But when his dad left the room, the Foxcroft Academy junior changed his mind and quietly left his Norton Hill Road home at about 11 p.m. for the short trip to the pizza parlor on Main Street.
He knew it would take just a matter of minutes, and he could return to his television program. He never once thought he would find another burglary taking place.
But unlike most people, instead of just reporting the burglary, the teenager captured one of the burglars by using his wrestling skills and held him until police arrived.
“Chris did a great job, but still I caution people about taking matters in their hands because of the safety factor,” Dover-Foxcroft Police Chief Dennis Dyer said Wednesday.
The teen’s father was very proud of his son’s actions. “I have the utmost confidence in this kid,” John Heretakis said Wednesday.
“He’s like Baby Huey; he doesn’t know his own strength,” Heretakis said, referring to the cartoon character, a giant baby duck known for his muscle power.
A wrestler at Foxcroft Academy, Chris said he felt it was his duty to protect his family’s possessions. The 6-foot, 3-inch tall student-athlete, who weighs 205 pounds and has been wrestling since seventh grade, said he knew the man he pursued wasn’t much of a threat.”Something triggered inside me that said ‘Go get the man,'” Chris recalled, adding that he has wrestled much larger competitors.
After parking his car behind the business as usual, Chris sauntered up to the back entrance with the door keys in his hand. He stopped short, however, when he saw the broken door frame and the outline of a person inside the building.
Grabbing his cell phone, Chris dialed 911 and called the state police. “I’m reporting a break-in at Dover House of Pizza,” he said.
As he made the call, he lost sight of the man inside the building. Fearing that the burglar might have exited the front door, he breathlessly ran around the building to check. When he found that door closed, he returned to the rear entrance just as the two men were fleeing the building.
“When I saw them, I was kind of scared,” Chris said. “They came running out of the door, and they both went different ways.”
Thinking that the men had the money bag, the teenager starting running after the man closest to him, someone he had recognized from town.
“I was shocked; it was kind of weird catching them in action,” Chris said. And his participation made it even more surreal, he said.
With adrenaline coursing through his veins, the teenager pumped his long legs as fast as he could as he pursued the burglar across Main Street. Reaching out with his arms, he grabbed the burglar, placed him in a half nelson, a maneuver he learned from years of wrestling, and tackled the man to the ground.
“Get off me!” the burglar shouted at Chris as the two struggled. Chris, however, pinned the man with his torso. The burglar managed to bite the teenager in the stomach, but the wound was not deep enough to require stitches.
Just as Chris had positioned himself better over the man, the teenager’s cell phone rang. It was the state police who wanted more information about his whereabouts because he had inadvertently disconnected the call after he reported the break-in.
Chris told them and the state police called the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, which in turn, notified Sgt. Joel Cyr and Officer Charlie Edgerly of the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department.
It was all a bit unnerving, the teenager commented Wednesday. The whole event left him a little shaken, he said.
Arrested in connection with the burglary was William Dorsey, 18, of Dover-Foxcroft. He is expected to make his initial court appearance on the charge today in 13th District Court in Dover-Foxcroft. Chief Dyer said Dorsey faces additional charges of burglary stemming from last week’s break-ins.
On Wednesday afternoon, police arrested the other person allegedly involved in Tuesday’s break-in, a 16-year-old Dover-Foxcroft juvenile. He has been turned over to the juvenile authorities.
And right after Dorsey was arrested, Chris called his father and apologized.
“I’m sorry, when I got here, two men were breaking in,” he recalled saying.