VALDOSTA -- It was just a normal day for Daniel Ross. He was going to lunch on North St. Augustine Road when he found himself involved in the prevention of a crime.

Ross, 23, a communications major at Valdosta State University, was passing by a building that was under construction when one of the workers saw a juvenile getting out of a van with a CD player. Ross was alerted when a woman came out of the building saying that the juvenile had stolen her purse. The woman and a man began pursuing the suspect.

"It was funny, he had gone to all that trouble and went about 10 yards -- dropped the CD and started running," Ross said.

Ross pulled his truck in front of the teen, causing him to cross North St. Augustine Road behind some buildings located by River Street. In the meantime, the woman and man were still in hot pursuit, Ross said. He drove his truck down a road and headed the suspect off again. However, this time Ross exited his truck and tackled the suspect.

Shortly after, the woman and man arrived, and the three escorted the juvenile back to the scene of the crime, where two Lowndes County deputies were waiting to take him into custody. The deputies took statements and thanked the three for their actions, Ross said.

The VSU student said he can't explain his actions that day and didn't even consider if the suspect was carrying any type of weapon. He just reacted.

"It was just the right thing to do," he said.

When asked if he had any advice to others who might find themselves in the same situation, Ross said, "Act, and do what's right."

Capt. David Arnold, Lowndes County Sheriff's Office said that law enforcement personnel depend heavily on citizens to assist them. Local citizens need to get involved, he said.

Over the years, people have gotten out of the attitude of looking out for each, the captain observed, whether it be in neighborhoods or observing suspicious vehicles in the street.

"There are a lot more citizens than us," he said. "We've got to have eyes watching our backs. It's called helping your neighbor."

To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.

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