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Cabela's

Signal Mountain's Houston Robertson was in the right place at the right time to help recently tackle a thief on the run from Cabela's in Fort Oglethorpe. Robertson, who is training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling and judo at Agoge Combatives in Rock Spring, put his training into practice that day.

It all happened Tuesday, July 21 at 3:30 p.m., when Robertson and his friend Amy Foster were walking toward the new store's entrance.

"A lady was trying to talk to a gentleman and his body language showed he did not want to talk," said Robertson. "Another gentleman tried to stop him. They [security guards] are not allowed to be physical, so they tried to talk him [the thief] into coming back in the store. He ran down the embankment behind the store. We were walking behind the security guards to see what was going on. He [the thief] started running down the road."

After asking the Cabela's security guard if he should go after the thief and getting the OK, Robertson took off.

"I ran down the embankment," he said. "He [the thief] had lots of layers on and I could tell he would get tired fast, so I chased after him two to three blocks behind Cabela's. He jumped over two fences, into people's yards. I saw him reach in his back pocket and drop a pack of ammo. I realized at that point he could have a gun on him, so I closed in on him quickly."

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Robertson's instructor at Agoge Combatives, Stacey Meeks, is a police officer in LaFayette.

"My professor, Stacey Meeks, is in law enforcement and he's a retired Marine," said Robertson. "A lot of the guys I train with are active duty police officers in LaFayette. Agoge is a nice gym for people starting off. It is a lot more well-rounded than most gyms."

Thanks to his training, Robertson was able to tackle the thief and restrain both his arms behind his back in a "back-take."

"He said as soon as I took him down, 'I can't breathe,' so I gave him room and flipped him over on his back so he could breathe easier," Robertson reported. "Then he said he could not breathe again, but he just wanted to run."

He said the thief attempted to roll over on his stomach again to run away, but he pinned him down again until police officers arrived.

"I showed the officer and security guard the ammo. They collected four or five boxes of ammo from the ground. He had ammo stuffed in his boots, in his pockets and his pants," said Robertson. "This lady comes out of her house with a grocery bag and they put the ammo in the bag. They had to contact the ammo company, Browning, to tell them about it."

In the end, Cabela's rewarded Robertson for his efforts by giving him a Cabela's gift card. He used it to purchase a cast-iron skillet inside the store.

"I almost always wear my running shoes, but I had my sandals on that day," said Robertson. "I had a small cut on my knee. Of all the [mixed martial arts] matches in my life, it was the easiest. The guys that train at Agoge are the best in the country."

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