Local News

Would-Be Robber Gets 'Chopped' By Karate Instructor

Posted May 16, 2002 5:01 a.m. EDT

— A would-be robber picked the wrong guy to rob this week in Cary. Instead of getting a fistful of dollars, he got a fist in the chest from the karate instructor.

Karate is not something most people get to use in everyday life. However, 13 years of training paid off for karate teacher Tony Letourneau when a man tried to rob him in a parking lot in Cary Tuesday night.

"He opened up the door and he said, 'Do you have any money for me?' and I turned around and I hit him right in the chest and he fell down," Letourneau said.

Letourneau had an expandable baton in the front seat of his truck, so he took it out.

"As he was getting up, I was going to sweep his legs out from underneath him. The way he was situated and the way I was, he just got a big hard whack on the leg," he said.

The robber ran and Letourneau called police.

"As it was happening, it was just surreal. It just happened so fast. It was over as quick as it started. Afterwards, yeah, I got scared," he said.

Cary police said fighting back is a personal decision, and it is not for everyone.

"Evidently Mr. Letourneau felt confident enough in himself to take the actions that he took," said Lt. Barry Nickalson of the Cary Police Department. "If you're in doubt, surrender the property. That property can be replaced. You can't."

Letourneau said he believes this experience might even turn the robber around.

"I think he got a big wallop on the leg and a real hurt ego. Hopefully, he's going to go out and get a job," Letourneau said.

In his haste to fend off the attacker, Letourneau did not get a good look at him, so there is no description of the suspect, but police said he learned a lesson -- one that will hopefully keep him from re-offending.