LARGO – Two employees from Largo’s solid waste division tackled and held down a man who reportedly was breaking into a house where a 14-year-old girl was home by herself June 5.
Largo police got the call about the burglary on Lexington Court at 2:10 p.m. that day. A man had knocked at the door, but the teenager didn’t know him and so didn’t answer it. She then noticed the same man trying to break into the rear door of the home, which is inside a fenced yard.
The teenager called her mother. While talking to her, the man removed a screen from the window. The mother told her daughter to get out of the house.
The 14-year-old ran out the garage door and saw a solid waste truck manned by several employees. She told Michael Kowalke and Michael Gordon that a man was breaking into her house. The burglary suspect meanwhile climbed back over the fence and fled north.
Kowalke tackled the suspect in the front yard of a neighbor’s house while Gordon pinned him down. The suspect – later identified as Matthew Jordan Olver, 20, of Pinellas Park – struggled against the men and at one point tried to stab them with a large knife, police reported.
The employees managed to take the knife from Olver. Another employee, Michael Fitzgerald, picked it up until police officers arrived and took Olver in custody.
Police Chief Jeff Undestad called the solid waste employees heroes in a city email explaining their feat.
“If not for their help, this burglar would have gotten away,” he wrote.
Olver was charged with armed burglary and two counts of aggravated assault, all felonies. Bond was set at $170,000. Police pointed out that the teenager never answered the door, and nothing indicated that Olver knew the house was occupied.
Olver has a previous history of battery and burglary, police reported. According to Pinellas County Jail records, he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm in October 2012.