Football player stops burglar in home


Derek Dravis

Senior linebacker Josh Hawes, pictured above in jersey number 19, tackled burglar in his home. He then sat on the intruder until the police arrived.

Erin Jones, Copy Editor

If there is one thing the intruders who broke into Josh Hawes’ home learned, it is to never break into Josh Hawes’ home.

During the early morning hours of Sept. 9, senior linebacker Josh Hawes had just made it back from a night out when he caught two intruders burglarizing his home.

Hawes said he arrived home around 2 a.m. and was headed upstairs to his room when someone he did not recognize ran past him.

“Our house has these stairs that go up to where everybody’s bedrooms are and so I’m walking up those stairs and saw someone run past me,” Hawes said.

Hawes said at first, he did not think anything of it until he saw a second person he did not know.

“Another dude came out of the hallway that leads to my room and I was like, ‘who are you?’ and he said, ‘I live here,’ but he had both of my backpacks and I was like, ‘no, you don’t’,” Hawes said.

After that, Hawes said the man ran past him down the stairs but did not make it far. Hawes took off after the intruder, catching him before he made it out the front door.

“I caught him right before he got out our door and I grabed him by his hair and brought him back down and just started teeing off on him,” Hawes said.

As Hawes tackled his intruder, he said the man tried calling for the second intruder to come back, however, he had already run off.

“His friend did not come back and so eventually, he goes, ‘I got a gun’ and I go, ‘oh, you got a gun?’ and I just start like, really laying into him,” Hawes said.

Though Hawes took his time explaining what happened, he said that the actual incident occurred within a matter of minutes.

“There was a girl who was asleep on our couch who was starting to wake up,” Hawes said. “She finally woke up and I yelled for everybody and she called the cops and they were there in like, 60 seconds.”

Once the police arrived, the intruder was immediately taken into custody and most of Hawes’ and his roommates’ belongings were returned. No gun was found on the intruder.

“He had a bunch of my old cell phones and some jewelry and stuff in his pockets that [the police] pulled out and his friend took my Xbox and our other roommate’s laptop,” Hawes said.

Hawes said the second man was not found, however, a third man who had been standing across the street was also taken into custody and found to be part of their group.

“The one dude who was across the street said that he was with them in the area and that he was at a different house,” Hawes said.

Winona Police Department’s deputy chief Tom Williams helped shed some light on the burglary that happened in Hawes’ home, as well as the burglaries that have happened in the homes of several other Winona State students.

“[The other suspect] did get out of the house, but officers were able to identify a suspect who was across the street when they came pulling up, and [Hawes] could not positively identify him as the one that was in the house,” Williams said.

According to Williams, the people who have been identified in the recent burglaries are from Rochester, not Winona.

“There’s actually six people from Rochester, but there’s four in one group and two in a different group,” Williams said.

Williams also said that the group of four were taken into custody in La Crosse a few weeks ago, but despite the apprehensions at Hawes’ home, the intruder who was tackled was released on bail the day after the burglary.

And though he heard about the release of the intruder, Hawes, the six-foot-two-inch, 225-pound linebacker, did not seem fazed by it.

“I’m from out of state and so I’ve always grown up in areas where stuff like this happens all the time,” Hawes said. “So, when I finally figured out they were stealing from us, it was just kind of a natural impulse.”

And deputy chief Williams, though he does not recommend confronting intruders, said that everyone has the right to defend themselves and their home.

“From a law enforcement standpoint, we do not recommend somebody does that. But different people are going to react differently to different situations,” Williams said. “If somebody is gutsy enough to go into another individual’s house to steal, it has to make you wonder, ‘what are they willing to do to get out?’ You have the right to defend yourself in your home, so if you feel threatened and you decide that you can apprehend them safely, that is on the homeowner.”

Hawes, who was fairly casual when discussing the ordeal, actually laughed when asked if he considered himself a hero.

“Yes,” he said jokingly, but then shrugged and shook his head.

He reiterated that his reaction to the intruder was a natural one.

“I just wanted my backpack back,” Hawes said, chuckling.  “That was my favorite backpack.”