Semi-pro football player tackles purse snatcher in Sumiton
by W. Brian Hale
Dec 12, 2012 | 6002 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — As owner, operator and player-coach of the West Jefferson Devil Dawgs, Jesse Reed emphasizes that having a strong moral character both on and off the football field is an integral part of the mindset of his football team.

The veteran center, who was a member of last season’s Premier South Football League championship team and has played for other semi-pro programs throughout the state, had no idea he would be using his honed gridiron skills to prevent a crime Saturday night — where Reed showed not only his team, but the community how to lead by example during an attempted robbery at the Walmart Supercenter in Sumiton.

Hours after a grueling practice with the Devil Dawgs, Reed and his wife, Kelly, arrived at the store to purchase groceries, when he overheard a nearby commotion involving a wheelchair-bound woman and a young man.

“The lady starting screaming that the man had taken her purse and my first thought was ‘is this really happening?’ But before I could even think about it much longer, the man began to run down the aisle toward the door,” Reed said. “That’s where my instincts just took over.”

At 5-foot-10 and 235 pounds, Reed has combined his strength and athleticism to keep defensive players away from his quarterback, as well as opening up holes in opposing defensive lines for his running backs to plow through over his player career.

At the crucial moment when the would-be robber could have made his escape, Reed stepped up to make a key play.

“I waited until he was close to me before I stood him up, like I would a linebacker, and dropped him to the ground,” Reed said. “There was no way I could have let him leave with that lady’s purse — if it was my mother or wife in the same position, I would hope someone would do the same for them and Saturday night, I took that role myself.”

Reed continued to detain the suspect through two escape attempts with some help from mixed martial arts fighters he is acquainted with, as well as employees of the store, until Sumiton officers arrived on the scene to take charge of the situation.

“This man just picked the wrong day to rob someone. I was just glad I was there to help out and helped get the lady back her purse,” Reed said.

Due to the case still being investaged with possible felony charges, the Sumiton Police Department was unable to release any other information.