As It Happens

Thief robs cross-country runners; foot chase ensues with predictable results

After a thief is caught stealing from the room of a group of elite runners from the University of Arizona, Bailey Roth and his teammates gave chase.
Runner Bailey Roth and his Arizona cross-country team chase down a thief who had allegedly stolen items from their hotel room. (Bailey Roth/Tim Riley)
Listen6:29

Bailey Roth is already an elite runner, who claims a near-Olympic level time in the steeplechase. Now, he can add crime fighter to the list of his achievements.

We were like, it's not going to end well for him being that we specialize in long-distance running.- Runner Bailey Roth

Last weekend, Roth and other University of Arizona cross-country athletes were at a track meet in Minnesota when someone broke into their hotel room and snatched their valuables.

Roth was across the street having brunch when he noticed one of his teammates having words with a man who was holding one of their bags.

"We all decided to run across the street and help him out," Roth tells As It Happens host Carol Off.

Now, it was six elite runners versus one suspected thief. So, unwisely, the thief decided to make a run for it. 

"We were like, it's not going to end well for him being that we specialize in long-distance running," says Roth. "He can't really outrun us."

But the thief tried, further hampered by the fact that he was lugging a team bag and a pocket full of valuables. And the suspect wasn't dressed for a race.

"He was in jeans. I was wearing running shoes and my warm-ups because we just came from a long run," says Roth. 

The man made it about 1.5 kilometres before the runners caught up with him. The thief didn't give up. He then climbed a three metre chain link fence.

It was then that Roth revealed his other major skill: climbing. His proficiency in the steeplechase meant the suspect was no match for him.

In the end, Roth ended up chasing the man into the arms of a waiting police officer.

"They thanked us for helping them out," he says. "They informed us they'd been looking for him for a while."

Police later charged 48-year-old Darren Clinton with burglary and terroristic threats.

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