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Bystander helps police capture suspected thief after chase, crash

Pickup truck slammed into power pole, man tried to run, police say

A Jacksonville man is being credited with helping contain a serial burglary suspect who crashed in front of his home Thursday morning after a short, high-speed police chase.

Tony Self said he and his wife awoke about 4 a.m. Thursday to the sound of a crash outside their home near Atlantic Boulevard and I-295.

Police said John Kiedrowski, 51, slammed into a power pole in Self's front yard, knocking it down. He was being pursued by Jacksonville police after an overnight smash-and-grab burglary at Julie's Jewelry at Atlantic Boulevard and Girvin Road.

“My wife and I, we came out, stood next to my garage, and we see the guy running into the pole, backing up and running into it,” Self said.

He said once Kiedrowski ran away from his truck, the officer released his K-9 to stop Kiedrowski, and Self ran out to see what was going on.

“(Kiedrowski) was kicking the dog in the face and the ears, in the head area,” Self said.

Self said that moments later, the officer asked for help, and Self helped pin Kiedrowski down until backup arrived.
Police said there was about $2,000 worth of jewelry in the bed of the pickup truck, which a witness saw leaving the scene about 3:30 a.m. after the front door of the store was smashed. 

Surveillance video from Julie’s Jewelry showed a man wearing a mask and using a concrete block to bust through the glass about 3:30 a.m. The burglar spent a few minutes inside, then ran out with boxes of valuables
Kiedrowski is also suspected in potentially dozens of smash-and-grab burglaries in the beaches areas.

Jacksonville Beach police have not yet charged Kiedrowski with any of those other 41 crimes, but they believe he is responsible for several of them. They said they are waiting to press charges because they want to gather evidence to prove he is connected to the burglaries.

Surveillance video News4Jax obtained Monday shows a man resembling Kiedrowski breaking into a dry-cleaning business. The thief used a brick to smash through the front door, grabbed cash and valuables, and sped off in a pickup.

Self said he is just grateful he could help police capture a suspect. He said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office plans to give him an award him for helping the officer and K-9 control  Kiedrowski until other police arrived.

JSO said Kiedrowski is still in the hospital because he was bitten by the K-9. After he's released, he’ll be taken to jail to face charges of burglary and resisting arrest.