Lake County captain catches criminal while off duty

MENTOR -- A Lake County sheriff's captain caught a criminal while he wasn't even on the job.

Carl Dondorfer was enjoying a day at home in Mentor on Wednesday when things quickly took a turn, and he found himself in the middle of the action.

During an at-home work-out in his living room, Dondorfer's phone started ringing off the hook.

"I checked my phone, realized it was the office," Dondorfer said.

He was off duty, but the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Mentor police were chasing a thief that just shoplifted from a Kohl's near Dondorfer's house.

"Because I live in the neighborhood, he wanted me to be aware of it," Dondorfer said. "So, I said, 'Well, hold on a minute,' and I looked out my bedroom window and saw the guy right as he was running through the woods."

Then, instinct kicked in. Dondorfer called for backup, ran out of his garage, sprinted across the neighbors' yards and grabbed the suspect in the ravine.

"He just asked me what I was doing, I said, 'You're in the wrong neighborhood, and I have some friends coming to meet you,' " Dondorfer said.

The wrong neighborhood is right -- a retired cop also lives on the same block. Police showed up in a matter of minutes to arrest 20-year-old Alexander Deener, who has a record that includes drug charges and eluding a 14-month prison sentence. Now Deener is locked up in the Lake County Jail.

"It was a good team effort," Dondorfer said. "Especially in residential areas, it's nice to get those people off the streets because you don't know what's going to happen."

Dondorfer said he would do it again, even if he was off duty. Neither of them were injured, but they did get a little muddy.

"It's just part of the job," Dondorfer said.


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