0225 GMT August 09, 2020
Haroon Mota and a friend caught up with the thief, wrestled him to the ground and held him until city center security arrived to take him away, coventrytelegraph.net reported.
And it wasn't the first time the have-a-go hero had made a citizen's arrest having done so on three other occasions previously.
The drama unfolded on the morning of Sunday, July 26, as 34-year-old Haroon and a friend had sat in Ironmonger Row on the back of a half marathon-length run.
He told CoventryLive: "I had just finished a long run and was sitting on the benches in the square between Primark and Greggs catching my breath.
"We saw this man running frantically and he didn't look like he was running for the bus. We didn't know he was a thief at that point, but then we saw a lady from Primark wearing a visor running full speed after him and we realized he had stolen something.
"My first instinct was "shall I jump up and help and chase?", but I was shattered and because of tiredness I thought twice.
"By this time he had passed Cafe Italia and he was sprinting, so then we started sprinting after him and he dropped the bag. We carried on chasing him and he went in to the alleyway behind the Nisa shop.
"He was tired and he stopped and tried to threaten us. We weren't having any of it and grappled him to the ground.
"He was quite a big chap, so I had to be careful, but I have a background in martial arts and was a kickboxer once upon a time. I was hoping the police were going to get there quickly."
Haroon, whose previous citizen's arrests included stopping a bike thief when he was a student at Coventry University, said members of the city center security team arrived as they were deciding how best to deal with the suspected thief.
He said the man tried to free himself and escape, and they had to ‘wrestle him again’ before handing him over to the security team.
"Afterwards I thought "why did I chase him?" and was thinking about what his personal circumstances that led him to do that," said Haroon.
"But then I thought that there's no excuse for stealing. I think I did the right thing.
"It's a chance to stop someone doing bad when you can and in my religion as a Muslim if you see something wrong you are meant to stop it physically or mentally if you can."
Thief in court
The suspect was 38-year-old Marius Tamasescu who was arrested afterwards and charged with theft from a shop.
Tamasescu, from Slough, appeared at Coventry Magistrates' Court the following day where he pleaded guilty to stealing clothing worth £141 from Primark and was fined £300 and ordered to pay £135 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.