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70-Year-Old Gardner Man Fights Off Home Intruder


GARDNER (CBS) -- Seventy-year-old Michael Salame has eight heart stents, nerve damage and apparently quite a right hook, as an alleged home invader found out.

It was about 3 a.m. Saturday when Salame was at home with his girlfriend and heard something outside.

He didn't realize the intruder, identified as 24-year-old Timothy Adams, had already shattered a window and climbed inside; but early proof the burglar wasn't on the ball came when he walked right through a door across from the window -- putting him right back outside again.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

70-Year-Old Fights Back After Finding Intruder In Home

So when Salame spotted the man outside stumbling over his trash barrels, he called 911. By then, Adams was back in the house and the two were face-to-face in the foyer.

"I went to the other side of the house to call the police department and didn't want to spook him so I didn't turn any lights on," Salame said. "I turned around and there he was, he was inside my house."

Salame said he was in no mood for visitors.

"He came in and that's when I grabbed him by the throat and slammed him down on the floor and told him to stay on the floor and not to put his hands in his pockets. I didn't know if he had a knife or a gun on him," Salame said.

"He managed to get up again and he tried to get up the staircase and I decked him three times with a right and he went down again," he said. "I give him three good rights -- I caught him right in the face. He went down and he never got up again."

It's not like Salame's some retired boxer, he's got all kinds of medical conditions.

Due to nerve damage, Salame has to wear bracelets with metals straps on his arms at night.

"That kind of worked as a weapon," Salame said. "It worked like a boxing glove."

When the intruder went down, Salame said the would-be thief offered him thousands of dollars to let him go.

"He offered me $100,000," said Salame.

Salame told the man the only place he would be going is the police station.

"Luckily he didn't have a knife or a gun and Mike reacted so quick," said Elaine Smith, Salame's girlfriend.

Salame laughed as he told the story to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Thursday, but he knows it could have ended up a lot worse than it did.

"He was so doped up," Salame said. "If he was sober or something it could have gone the other way but because he was so messed up, I grabbed him before he even knew what hit him. I thank God no one got hurt, besides him."

While the crook ended up in jail, police don't recommend residents fight intruders.

"He could have been seriously hurt, but certainly his age and his experiences in life helped him react to what was going on," said Lt. John Bernard of the Gardner Police Department.

Retired now, Salame was a welder who took over his dad's metal fabrication plant. So WBZ asked him where he got those brawling skills.

"I grew up with three brothers and we did a lot of scrapping in our lifetimes," he said.

It turns out that Adams lives just up the street. His mother told WBZ that he was virtually blacked-out drunk that night and doesn't remember anything but waking up in jail.

Adams is charged with breaking and entering and destruction of property.

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