‘A Very Dangerous Thing’: Women Chase Down Alleged Store Thief in Evanston, Hold Him Until Police Arrive

For a little more than 20 years Ayla Pizzo has enjoyed running her bead shop in downtown Evanston.

“It’s a wonderful neighborhood and it’s filled with community and people who are there for you,” she told NBC 5.

And that community stepped up on Nov. 11 when Pizzo says a suspicious young man walked into her store.

"This person was just looking around and had a hood on, which no one really thinks about in Chicago in November, because it’s cold,” she said.

While Pizzo and a fellow employee helped customers in the back, they suddenly heard a familiar sound from their 100-year-old cash register.

"He made himself busy, took the money out of our cash register, and ran out the door,” Pizzo said.

Customer Kristin Andrews shot cell phone video of Pizzo's employee chasing the man, but she quickly turned the camera off and jumped in to help.

“I see this kid run out of the door like a horse out of a gate,” Andrews recalled. “I called 911 the kid was running really quickly.”

Instead of chasing the young man, Andrews cut down an alley to cut him off to cut him off and that’s when she encountered some much needed help.

“A random woman saw me, saying 'are you looking for that guy that’s running in the black jacket' and I said 'yeah, yeah, he just went into that shop.'”

Both women trapped the man inside a coffee shop until police arrived.

Officers arrested Brian Gaines who was charged with misdemeanor theft for allegedly stealing $80.

Andrews and and Pizzo praise all the women, who barely knew each other, for coming together.

“It was a very dangerous thing that every single one of them did, it warmed my heart,” Pizzo said.

Andrews echoed that sentiment.

“The serendipity of it just makes me love women and Evans even more.”

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