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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Largo sanitation workers catch fleeing burglary suspect

Two heroic sanitation workers tackled and subdued a knife-wielding man who police said tried to break into a Largo residence while a frightened 14-year-old was home alone Thursday.

During the burglary attempt, the teen ran outside for help and alerted the Solid Waste Division employees, Michael Kowalke and Michael Gordon, whose truck happened to be in the neighborhood, police said.

Matthew Olver, 20, of Pinellas Park, faces one count of armed burglary and two counts of aggravated assault.

A man, later identified as Olver, knocked on the door of the home on Lexington Court about 2 p.m., police said. The teen did not know the man and did not answer the door.

Soon after, the man attempted to break into the back door of the house, which is in a fenced yard, police said. The teen called the mother on the phone, police said. As the intruder removed a window screen, the mother told the teen to get out of the house.

The teen ran through the garage door, saw the sanitation truck and told Kowalk and Gordon “there is a guy breaking into the house,” police spokesman Lt. Paul Amodeo said in a news release.

The intruder was seen climbing over the fence and fleeing to the north, police said. Kowalke then tackled Olver in the front yard of a neighbor’s house, and Gordon pinned him down, police said.

“The subject began to struggle with the employees and at one point tries to stab them with a large knife,” Amodeo said.

The knife was taken from Olver, and another Solid Waste employee, Michael Fitzgerald, held it until officers arrived, police said.

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