Cameron Fontenot and Cameron Cashdollar: should these best friends be considered heroes — or called out for putting themselves in danger? (Photo: KDKA Pittsburgh)
Two teenage boys will be going back to school this year as high school juniors—and real-life crime fighters.
Best friends Cameron Cashdollar, 15, and Cameron Fontenot, 16, chased down a suspected burglar in their suburban Pittsburgh neighborhood, tackling the guy until police arrived.
And though the cops are glad the two teens took the suspect down, questions remain as to whether confronting a criminal in the middle of the night was a brave —or brainless — move.
At happened at about 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Cashdollar, 15, and Fontenot, 16, were watching TV in Cashdollar’s living room, when they suddenly saw a man shine a flashlight into the window. Startled, they went outside and followed him to the street.
The suspect offered the teens money to let him go, but Fontenot held onto him until the police arrived as Cashdollar took this photo. (KDKA Pittsburgh)
There, they watched as the suspect broke into several unlocked cars, and then they quickly took off down the street to catch him.
“When I first confronted him, he was actually trying to run,” Fontenot told KDKA Pittsburgh. “I stopped him and then he swung at me, so that’s when I took him down.”
The teens said that the suspect, dressed in all black and much larger than they are, offered them money if they’d leave him alone. “He was like, ‘I’ll give you the change, just let me go, just let me go,’ all that kind of stuff,” said Fontenot.
Needless to say, the high-school juniors didn’t take him up on his offer. Instead, they held the perp in a headlock, snapping a photo just before five police cars pulled up to arrest the man. The suspect, Anthony Adams, from Virginia, remains in county jail.
While the police told KDKA that they’re glad the teens took action and that Adams may not have been caught without their help, they also acknowledge that confronting him was “a little risky.”
Crime safety experts agree—this story could have ended very differently.
“What they did was heroic, but also risky and borderline stupid,” Robert Siciliano, home security expert, tells Yahoo Parenting. “This was a predator, and predators are unpredictable. He could have been armed with a gun or knife.”
The general rule when it comes to encountering a criminal is to never confront him or fight unless your life or a loved one’s life is at risk, says Siciliano. If you see a thief in action or encounter someone who is acting shady, don’t escalate the situation—just go to a safe place, like out the back door to a neighbor’s house — and call police.
“If you are not in immediate danger, contact law enforcement and let them do their job,” says Siciliano. “Anyone who thinks otherwise has been playing too many video games.”