A yeshivah student has been praised by police in Manchester for apprehending a thief who stole a mobile phone, satellite navigation system, tallit and tefillin from synagogue-goers.
Lee Jarvis, 35, of no fixed abode, got more than he bargained for after making the thefts outside a shtibl in Salford’s Broughton Park in the early hours of Monday. As a victim gave chase, shouting for help, a group of students from the Shaarei Torah Yeshivah joined the pursuit.
At the forefront was 20-year-old Meir Deutsch, who ran out of his dorm room barefoot in his pyjamas.
“I heard screaming and shouting ‘get him, get him’ in Yiddish,” Mr Deutsch recalled. “I didn’t see anyone at first but then I came face-to- face with this man holding a satnav and mobile phone. He dropped the tallit and tefillin. He told me to stay away, otherwise he would stab me.
“When he picked up a large rock and threatened me I knew he didn’t have a knife. After a few steps forward I leapt at his neck and pulled him to the ground. A friend began kicking him. We all piled on top of him and kept him there until police arrived three minutes later. My legs were killing me because I was on hard gravel.”
Appearing before Manchester City magistrates on Tuesday, Jarvis was convicted of two counts of theft and one of assault. He received a 20-week sentence.
PC Ian McCaffrey said Mr Deutsch and fellow students had shown “bravery. They were determined the man would not get away. While we do not recommend people taking the law into their own hands, they acted instinctively and detained him until police arrived.”