The Burlington City Progressive Party may not be the dominant force it once was in Queen City politics, but this week its committee chair proved he can still kick some serious ass in the Old North End — by pummeling the snot out of a would-be criminal.
On Friday night, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., Tiki Archambeau (pictured right) claims he walked out of his house on Crombie Street when he noticed the dome light in his car lit up. Assuming his wife had accidentally left the door ajar, he went to shut it when he spotted a man sprawled across the driver’s side seat, rifling though his glove box.
"I paused, incredulous at what I was witnessing, then leaned down and said, 'Did you get everything you need?'" Archambeau wrote, in an Oct. 6 post on Front Porch Forum describing the incident in detail.
When the thief tried to flee, Archambeau claims he tackled the man to the ground. The thief managed to get back on his feet, but Archambeau grabbed the man's left arm behind his back and smashed him against his house and fence. Soon thereafter, Archambeau was joined by a neighbor. Together, they tried to restrain the criminal until a police unit could arrive.
But according to Archambeau, the crook was "wily and strong and managed to get out of our grasp and start running west on Crombie but without his backpack, which was now in my...possession."
Archambeau claims he chased the man for several blocks until a police dispatcher advised him to end his pursuit and leave the job of apprehending criminals to those with the skills and weapons to do it without, say, getting killed. The man was last seen near the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Cedar Street.
Archambeau describes the suspect as an 18- to 22-year-old white male, approximately 6' 1" tall, 200 pounds, with short, dark-brown hair, unkempt inch-long curly facial hair and wearing loose jeans and a long-sleeve white pullover shirt which he removed in place of a black T-shirt. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Burlington PD at (802) 658-2704.
Archambeau, who's 41 and describes himself as a "small, skinny guy," admits to Seven Days that it was "kind of nuts" of him to take on the perp all by himself and run the risk of getting stuck by a needle, a knife — both of which were recovered from the thief's backpack — or worse. The Burlington PD hadn't made an arrest as of Monday morning, but Archambeau says he gave the cops the man's bike, and everything else in it, including his address. "So, I’ve got to imagine an arrest is imminent."
This isn’t the first time Archambeau has been targeted by local thieves. Last summer his truck was broken into at Burlington’s Oak Ledge Park; his window was smashed and his wife’s purse was stolen. Also earlier this year, someone made off with his 2-year-old’s push-walker right out of their front yard. "That seemed kind of stupid," he says. "It had a total value of a dollar."
One minor detail Archambeau omitted from his FPF post: He suspects he may have broken the suspect’s nose when he hurled him into the side of the house. "My goal was not to hurt him, but to restrain him," he emphasizes.
Archambeau says he fully expected to get some finger-wagging disapproval for his vigilante justice but thus far all he’s seen are positive comments, which may inspire him to a new career: "Maybe I should get myself a Batmobile and a cape."
Not a bad idea, considering that property crimes are on the rise and Halloween is just around the corner.