Milaca native thwarts robbery

John Daiker and his son, Stevie, 6, at Hassan Elementary School in Rogers.

ECM Sun Newspapers

Message to criminals: You might want to turn around and do your dirty business elsewhere before crossing the Rogers city limits.

That’s because the citizens don’t want you there and are willing to put their well-being in jeopardy to make sure you don’t get away with your criminal intentions.

In less than a six-month span, Rogers residents went beyond their call of duty in apprehending two fleeing criminals. The first was when a group of neighbors encircled a suspect attempting to flee a Rogers neighborhood after dumping a stolen motorcycle during a police chase.

The latest incident happened Tuesday night, Aug. 14, at the Rogers SuperAmerica.

Resident John Daiker, a 1992 graduate of Milaca High School, had just finished pumping gas into his van when he saw something very suspicious — a briskly walking person wearing a black hoodie with a bandana covering his face.

“I’m thinking this has to be a joke,” Daiker said. “Here’s this guy who seemed to be saying, ‘Don’t mind me, I’m going to rob the place.’ ”

At first Daiker thought the suspect might know the cashier and was playing a joke. But when the suspect waved a gun at the cashier, and then saw the cashier with a panicked face, he knew it was a real robbery.

“Then I hopped into my van to block the door. I yelled to another customer outside to call the cops,” Daiker said. “That’s when the suspect looked at me and got scared and freaked out a bit. He went to take off at the other exit.”

Daiker then went to cut off the suspect.

“At that point I was thinking if he pulled the gun on me I’d just step back, but if he didn’t, I figure he was super scared or (the gun) is not real,” Daiker said.

While the suspect was running away, the 6-foot-3-inch, 270-pound Daiker figured he could chase him. The suspect lost his footing and slowed enough for Daiker to come up with a plan. Being a former semi-professional football player, Daiker would “make like a linebacker” and tackle the suspect as hard as he could.

“I hit him hard,” he said. “He came out of his shoes. When he landed, his arm slammed on the ground and he wasn’t holding the gun anymore and I just grabbed it and threw it.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, Aug. 23 print edition of the Times.