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Thief robs the wrong guys: Cross-country runners chase him down

University of Arizona cross-country runners thanked the Minneapolis Police Department for helping them catch a man who allegedly robbed their hotel room.
University of Arizona cross-country runners thanked the Minneapolis Police Department for helping them catch a man who allegedly robbed their hotel room. Instagram

This would-be robber gets his own page in the annals of Stupid Thief Tricks.

Darren Clinton is accused of breaking into a downtown Minneapolis hotel room on Sept. 25, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The robber was still in the room when Collins Kibet walked in.

The robber ran out of the room.

Kibet, a senior All-American 800-meter runner at the University of Arizona, ran after him.

The school’s cross-country team was in town for the Roy Griak Invitational, one of the largest cross-country races in the country.

Wearing dress shoes, Kibet ran down five flights of stairs and out a side door of the Courtyard Marriott. According to Runners World, a man holding a pocket knife and carrying an Arizona cross-country backpack and travel back confronted him.

“I got a knife,” the man told Kibet before he ran off.

Kibet chased him at a distance and called 911.

Coach Tim Riley and five runners were at breakfast at a restaurant across the street from the hotel. When they saw Kibet arguing with the man, they ran to join him.

That is how a robber “found himself being chased by a Division I cross-country team,” Runners World noted.

Arizona junior Patrick Leary told the magazine that man “was terrified. He was so scared. He knew he was caught and just wanted to get away.”

The team cornered him in an alley blocked by a chain-link fence.

The man begged for the team to let him go, slashing his knife through the air, the Star-Tribune reported. He dropped the bags he had taken, grabbed a wallet out of his pocket and threw it at them — but it was his own wallet with his ID in it.

Then he scampered up the 10-foot chain-link fence.

Bailey Roth, a steeplechase runner on the team, climbed the fence after him.

He and another teammate stayed on the man’s tail until he ran across Interstate 35. The runners headed down a road below the highway, hoping to head him off, but a state trooper was already waiting.

“A criminal robbed our hotel room, but he couldn’t run away from a team of cross country runners!” Leary posted to Instagram after the chase.

“It’s never a good idea to get in a foot chase with cross-country runners,” Minneapolis Police Officer Jim Walker told the Star-Tribune.

Clinton, who also faces past charges of assault and burglary, was charged with second-degree burglary.

Walker said the man was huffing and puffing when he was arrested after running about three-quarters of a mile.

The runners hardly broke a sweat.

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