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Team Dover Airman thwarts would-be robber, leads to arrest

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lothrop, 436th Aerial Port Squadron Air Terminal Operations Center senior controller, stopped a robbery in progress the evening of Feb. 18, 2017, in downtown Dover.

Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Dover Police Department public information officer, said Brian McCain, a 33-year-old Dover resident approached a 30-year-old woman in the 100 Block of West Loockerman Street as she was walking to her vehicle following dinner with friends.

“McCain demanded that the woman give him her purse,” Hoffman wrote in a Feb. 21 press release. “Fearful for her safety, due to McCain’s aggressiveness, she complied and McCain fled on foot. A witness observed the incident and chased down the suspect, tackling him to the ground a short distance away.”

Lothrop was uninjured by the interaction and successfully recovered the victim’s property.

A short time later, Dover Police Department officers arrested McCain near his home in the same area.

Lothrop, it turns out, was home for just a few days, taking advantage of mid-deployment leave, and by the time the incident appeared in news, he was already back on his way overseas.

“While assigned to the 436th APS, Lothrop worked at ATOC where he was the focal point for all operations dealing with the on- and offload of cargo and passengers transitioning Dover Air Force Base aboard military aircraft, said 1st. Lt. Lance Matsuda, 436th APS ATOC flight commander. “His position required him to make quick and decisive decisions, so it is no surprise that he was able to act without hesitation in this situation. We are grateful that he was able to assist a citizen in distress, and we are extremely proud of his actions representing Team Dover.”

While this was a good news story, Lothrop could have been injured or killed.

“We’re glad Lothrop stood up to criminal activity and was not injured in the process,” said Staff Sgt. Cavan Reilly, 436th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of police services. “We urge all Airmen to carefully consider their options and use risk management if they find themselves in a similar situation and not to take the law into their own hands. If the situation isn’t life threatening, please call the police and let them know what you saw. The state of Delaware’s Good Samaritan Law does not cover any liabilities Airmen may face from a civil lawsuit standpoint. All Airmen are always strongly encouraged to use sound judgement when intervening in any criminal acts.”

McCain was committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $1,000 secured bond on a single charge of robbery 2nd degree.