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‘It could have been completely dangerous’: Man helps apprehend thief at Southgate Centre

Click to play video: 'Southgate Centre thief apprehended by citizens' Southgate Centre thief apprehended by citizens
WATCH ABOVE: An Alberta father now admits he wasn't thinking when he jumped in to stop a would-be thief at Southgate Centre mall. As Nicole Stillger explains, a suspect ran off with hundreds of dollars worth of electronics before he was apprehended by shoppers – Mar 1, 2020

Adam Aylward and his sons were at the Bell store in Southgate Centre in south Edmonton on Saturday. What happened next took the entire family by surprise.

“This guy just turned around, grabbed the stuff and walked out,” Aylward explained. “Before you know it [my sons] are both shouting, ‘Dad, that guy just stole our stuff.'”

The thief made off with two tablets and a store employee’s phone, according to Aylward. Without thinking, he decided to run after the person.

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“I guess he glanced back and saw I was chasing him and started to run,” he said.

“I started to shout out in my big, booming voice, ‘Stop, he’s got our tablets!'”

READ MORE: Edmonton police respond to robbery at Southgate Centre mall; 1 suspect in custody

He said some bystanders jumped in to help and eventually pinned the thief on the ground. Aylward recalled security arriving within seconds.

“Somebody had said should we just let him go — I said, ‘No, I’m going to press charges,'” he said.

Reflecting on the situation, he admits it could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

“I realize it could have been completely dangerous,” he said. “I just thought of catching this guy and getting our stuff back.”

READ MORE: Southgate Centre assault victim’s son says dad ‘left some big shoes to fill’ at flower shops

Aylward and his sons are from Hay River, NWT. He brought them to Edmonton to be with their mother. She has terminal cancer and is staying here.

“We’re looking to go home to spend the rest of our time with her,” he said.

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“I thought my kids had been through enough and we didn’t deserve to go through one more bad thing happening to us.”

He explained they will stay in Edmonton until she’s stable enough to fly home. For now, he wanted to say thank you to those who helped out in a chaotic situation.

“It means a lot,” he said.

Global News reached out to Edmonton police for comment Sunday and were told information would not be available on the incident until Monday.

This is the second time in two months where witnesses jumped into action to help stop a robbery at Southgate Centre.

In January, multiple people robbed a jewellery store. A man who recorded the incident chased one of them down.

Click to play video: 'Attempted robbery prompts partial evacuation of Southgate Centre' Attempted robbery prompts partial evacuation of Southgate Centre
Attempted robbery prompts partial evacuation of Southgate Centre – Jan 13, 2020

Two years ago in April of 2018, 61-year-old Iain Armstrong — the owner of the Bunches Flower shop in the mall — was brutally attacked while also trying to stop a robbery and died in hospital.

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Jordan Martin Cushnie plead guilty to manslaughter and robbery last year.

READ MORE: Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in Southgate Centre attack

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