Aug 16, 2013

Prowling Pa. ninja says he was trying to help cops

( 8-15-13)

Everybody agrees that a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man dressed up as a ninja and lurked near homes, but they disagree whether that's a good idea – or legal.

Todd Kapcsos, of Johnstown, was in court Wednesday to waive his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of loitering, prowling at night and disorderly conduct.

Police said Kapcsos frightened some elderly residents who saw him sneaking around while carrying a black baseball bat and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, another long shirt, a mask and a pair of gloves – all of them black.

He contends he was just trying to help police catch bad guys.

"I dressed up in all black, snuck around, went through bushes," Kapcsos told WJAC-TV. He claimed to be practicing "ninja moves" including rolling into a ball so he'd appear to be a rock hidden in the shadows.

"There's not enough police officers," he said. "The community should do something rather than sit back.

But one neighbor, Chris Trevino, told the TV station, "It looked more like he was trying to break into homes, not like he was gonna be a ninja and save the world."

That night, July 15, Trevino saw Kapcsos "running like a ninja, not like a normal person jogging. He was going back and forth creeping."

So she called the police.

"The ninja ran across the alley and right into the arms of a police officer," Trevino said.

Kapcsos was lurking in the Moxham section of Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Several high-profile crimes have occurred in the neighborhood in recent months, including three of the city's five homicides. The last one occurred Aug. 6 – a stabbing at a car wash – about three weeks after Kapcsos was arrested.

Aug 6, 2013

Runner urges caution after alleged attacked on Jordan River trail

(by Devon Dolan 8-5-13)

A Taylorsville woman says she was attacked by a stranger while running along the Jordan River Parkway Monday morning. Now, she wants to make sure others are more prepared than she was.

Emily Jameson said she knows the Millrace Park trails well — she runs them several times a week.

She's always carried pepper spray but never needed it until Monday.  Jameson — a runner since the age of 9 — was jogging alone when she approached a man walking in front of her.

"It just seemed like someone I was just passing until I came right up on him," she said. "He ran at me and punched me."

The man gave no warning signs before the attack, Jameson said.  "He just started to run and charged me and punched me right in the shoulder," she said. "I screamed." Jameson said she froze when the man began yelling at her to "get me my money."  After a few seconds, the man stopped and walked away.  "I don't think I've ever been that terrified," she said.  The attacker left a bruise on Jameson's shoulder. She said she'd never felt unsafe on the trails leading up to this point.

"This guy would just attack anyone who agitated him in some way," she said.

Other runners on the trail Monday said they'd never felt threatened before.  "I feel safe," said Herold England. "Who is going to bother me?"  Jameson said she was frustrated she didn't know how to react appropriately.  "When it happened I froze," she said. "I had no idea what to do."  Russell Clegg with Z-Ultimate prepares his clients for threatening situations.

"The first thing is you want to be assertive," he said. "Yell, be direct, make eye contact."

Clegg teaches his students to get away if they can, or to fight back. But his best piece of advice: Be aware.  "Avoiding problems is always so much easier than trying to solve a problem," he said.

 Jameson said she's now dedicated to teaching family and friends to be more prepared than she was.

 "This is how we prepare ourselves when something like this happens," she said. "Everybody should be prepared in some way."  Jameson described her attacker as about 6-feet 2-inches, 180 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts. She said he was very agitated and aggressive. Murray police officers are investigating.


My take

A perfect example of how something can happen anywhere at any time that would require you to protect yourself.

The fact that she "had no idea what to do" and that she "froze" when the attack came shows that she has never had any self-defense training or most likely has never even thought about it.

American Kenpo Karate is perfect for the situation she found herself in.