Arlington men lasso a shoplifter near Safeway

ARLINGTON — They were just a couple of good ol’ boys, meaning no harm, but a shoplifter near the Arlington Safeway found out the hard way that their roping skills were not just for show.

Chad Barber, who graduated from Arlington High School in 2007, and Tyler Southard, who will graduate in 2010, were standing outside the convenience store of the Chevron station on 204th Street NE at 12:30 a.m., Aug. 12, when the trouble started.

“I was in McDonald’s when this guy walked in, grabbed an 18-case of Budweiser and just took off,” said Southard, the more talkative of the duo. “We chased him about 150 yards, and then 30 or 40 more, after he’d laid down for a while on the grass. We said, ‘Hey, just give them back the beer,’ but he looked at Chad and said, ‘What are you going to do with that rope?’ Chad told him, ‘You’ll find out if you don’t stop.’”

Barber had been practicing his rodeo-roping skills for at least a month, and he managed to lasso the shoplifter and yank him back, after which both Barber and Southard hog-tied the shoplifter.

“He was feeling pretty invincible,” Southard said. “He started calling us names, like ‘dumb redneck’ and ‘stupid hillbilly.’ It’s not the first time I’ve been called that.”

The Chevron cashier had called 9-1-1, and it only took Barber and Southard five minutes to apprehend the shoplifter. When police arrived, 10 minutes after the call had been made, they found their suspect practically gift-wrapped for them.

“The first thing the officer said was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Barber said. “It’s not exactly an everyday thing, so he couldn’t stop laughing. It was an adrenaline rush for us.”

“Everybody was smiling at the Safeway that night,” Southard said.

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