UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A little ingenuity and a lot of nerve helped Michael Filius track down his stolen tow truck.
Filius, 36, is the night manager at Hartmann Towing in the St. Louis suburb of University City. He was busy inside the garage about 2:45 a.m. Saturday with tow truck left outside idling. He noticed he couldn't hear the engine, looked outside, and the truck was gone.
Filius, a former California corrections officer, knew the truck was equipped with a global-positioning system and is affiliated with AAA Auto Club. He got an AAA dispatcher to monitor the GPS and relay the truck's movements to him by cell phone as he began pursuit in his Mercury Sable.
The dispatcher told him the truck had been motionless for about 3 1/2 minutes at a St. Louis intersection. Filius arrived to find two men with the truck. As one tried to climb a fence to escape, he slipped. Filius' car accidentally struck him, causing a minor injury.
The 30-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of tampering and theft. The second man got away, apparently with the wallet Filius had left inside the truck.
Filius told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that as he waited for police to show up, the man he caught tried to negotiate, telling Filius he would get the wallet back if he were freed. Filius said the man also threatened him, even using the first name he had seen on the license inside Filius' wallet.
Police say Filius is lucky he wasn't hurt. They urge crime victims to leave the police work to the professionals.
Filius said he was simply fed up with being a victim.
"I have to see these little hoodlums every day," he said. "There's a point I'm not going to take it anymore."
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com