Lighthouse Point, Fla. – A would-be burglar met his match when he tried to elude Margo Foster, a marathon runner with a black belt in karate who also knows kickboxing and kung fu, police said.
On Friday morning, the 53-year-old Lighthouse Point resident returned home from tennis practice to find an intruder rummaging through her bedroom.
Without thinking twice, she said in an interview, she bolted through the living and dining rooms and followed the startled man out to the backyard. Police said he had one of Foster’s backpacks strapped on his shoulders, filled with her property. She wanted it back.
A seven-block-long chase had just begun. Lighthouse Point police corroborated Foster’s version of events, and without endorsing her gutsy conduct, said she had evidently been up to the challenge.
“Luckily, it turned out OK,” said police Commander Mike Oh, a spokesman for the Lighthouse Point department.
As related by Foster, the intruder began to climb the 6-foot-high wooden fence in the yard, when she “grabbed him by the neck, ripped him off the fence.. threw him to the ground, and put my knee to his chest.”
The two struggled for a few minutes, Foster in her white tennis skirt, before the burglar dropped the bag and started running again.
“Go ahead and run,” the former yacht detailer said she yelled. “You’re not going to get away from me. I’ve been running for 40 years.”
Police said the burglar headed north on Lighthouse Drive into the city of Deerfield Beach and then turned right on Southeast 14th Street, before he got tired and started walking. Foster followed behind and flagged down a motorist, who called police.
“I outran the kid,” said Foster. “He had no cardiovascular system.”
Gregory St. Germain, 24, was arrested by Lighthouse Point police and charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling, battery, possession of stolen property and grand theft. Police said Foster recovered all her property, including what Foster said was a gold identification bracelet given to her as a teenager by a boyfriend as a Christmas present. “He almost got away with the most sentimental thing I’ve kept for years,” she said.
Oh, the Lighthouse Point police spokesman, described Foster’s actions as “courageous,” but cautioned that burglars are often armed and dangerous. “She’s had some advance training and obviously is very physically fit and confident,” he said.
Foster said she’d trained for years for such a situation. “I wasn’t going to sit back and let something like this happen,” she said.