Luring the thief with a dummy package, Sonya Yu sprayed him with bear repellent and threatened him with a wooden sword, chasing him away. Minutes later, the alleged burglar, Andy Anduha, 51, was apprehended by law enforcement.
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Yu, a photographer, recounted the entire incident on her Twitter account as events unfolded.
Yu informed her followers that several items had been stolen by Anduha. "He steals packages from door stoops - stole $1K+ worth from us earlier in the fall. He's been targeting our neighborhood."
"My bear spray, bokken, & I are still not intimidated,'" she tweeted Tuesday at 2:10 p.m. A bokken is a wooden sword used for samurai training.
Shortly after 4:45 p.m. the same day she tweeted, "I GOT HIM WITH THE BEAR SPRAY BUT HE ESCAPED." Then, less than 15 minutes later, "I AM PUTTING HIM UNDER CITIZENS ARREST RIGHT NOW WITH 4 COPS."
Constant tweets concerned for her welfare came in. Yu kept her followers informed, giving them a blow-by-blow of events. Less than three minutes later: "8 COPS HAVE HIM & I JUST CONFIRMED ID. HE IS BEIN TAKEN AWAY IN AN AMBULANCE CUZ OF THE BEAR SPRAY I DOUSED HIM WITH." After Anduha was apprehended she wrote, "The bear spray debilitated him & painted him orange so other cops picked him up within 5 minutes. GOT HIM!"
Yu conceded on Twitter that the police were entertained by her unorthodox methods. "Cops were cracking up when they arrived to see me and my weapons." Hikers and hunters use bear repellent for protection. Yu tweeted she had purchased it at a local REI. Like pepper spray, bear repellent contains "Capsaicin and other Capsaicinoids, red pepper derivatives that affect the eyes and respiratory system," according to REI's website.
Yahoo! Shine reached out to Yu, but she did not respond for comment. "Thx everyone for the interest," she tweeted this morning, "but I have not & will not speak or comment to the media abt this. It's still an active police investigation."
Though some of Yu's neighbors praised her scrappiness, ("Thanks for catching the UPS Bandit. You saved Christmas," one neighbor wrote on Twitter), local law enforcement recommended that citizens not attempt to confront criminals themselves.
Other tweeters thought Yu's actions were unnecessary, even crazy. One wrote: "This is assault. Cops can't beat suspected criminals who are fleeing, and citizens can't blast them with bear spray. He had a knife? Please. You mean the one he opens packages with? Sonya was not in physical danger. . . y'all are a bunch of Texans if you think this violence is justified."
Yu insisted to neighbors that she was safe during the incident, tweeting, "He didn't try to attack me but he did have a knife. I was above him on the 1st floor balcony, dousing him with bear spray," though she did get hit by the bear spray in the process. "I WAS ALSO HIT WITH BEAR SPRAY BLOW BACK, SO MY FACE IS BURNING BUT IT FEELS SO GOOD," she tweeted.