Utah Utes head men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak had his hands in two different crime-stopping incidents on campus within a four-day period -- one stopping an alleged bike thief on Sept. 28, and the other Oct. 1, leading a hunt to nab a suspect who had collected thousands of dollars worth of video equipment and gear from the Utah athletic offices. He spoke to ESPN.com on Oct. 4 about the latest incident.
The basketball video offices were hit two weeks ago, with equipment and computers stolen according to Krystkowiak.
"Once that happened, we took it personal and were diligent with the players to make them aware,'' Krystkowiak said.
He said the baseball offices also were hit, this time on Sept.28 and then there was an attempt to steal from the swim coaches' office. Krystkowiak said the suspect was seen leaving the offices after a volleyball match. An eyewitness account gave Krystkowiak a profile to relay to his team.
"I told our team to be on the lookout and, if they saw anything suspicious, to take a picture,'' Krystkowiak said. "Then, one of our former players, Jarred DuBois, was working out at 11 p.m., two weeks ago in the Huntsman Center and saw a guy with gloves on and a huge backpack busting into the marketing department. I told him, 'If you see that guy again, then take his picture.' He did, the next day in the parking lot, and took his picture on his cellphone.''
Krystkowiak showed the photo to the other coaches, and they confirmed that person was the suspect seen after the volleyball match.
Then on Oct. 1, Krystkowiak's received a text message from assistant track coach Burke Bockman saying the suspect was seen in the parking lot.
Krystkowiak rallied his managers, Hans Steinbrenner and Austin DeSilva, and video coordinator Scott McByrne, and the pursuit began.
"We split up and chased him all over campus,'' Krystkowiak said. "The two managers cornered him in a locker room.''
Krystkowiak said they didn't know whether the suspect was armed but they still pursued.
"They were nervous and at first weren't sure it was him, but then they saw he had the New Jersey Nets backpack that was stolen from our video guy. They chased him down,'' he said.
Krystkowiak said that when he met up with them, the suspect was cuffed and in the police car. He said the suspect had on NBA socks that he had "stolen from us. So I tapped on the window, and when he looked up at me, I showed him the picture on my cellphone and said, 'Hey buddy, is this you? We've been looking for you.' It was good seeing him in handcuffs.''
Krystkowiak said the police told him the suspect had rented a nearby hotel room, and stored thousands of dollars worth of Utah stolen goods and was trying to sell them on Craigslist.
Krystkowiak said he wrote a $1,000 check to the two managers for them to share for their crime fighting.
Three days earlier, Krystkoviak nabbed an alleged bike thief. He said he was walking into the Huntsman Center at 7:30 a.m. when he saw a man holding onto a second bike while riding. He said it didn't look right and ran up to the corner and caught him.
He said the suspect originally said it was his girlfriend's bike.
"I almost bought it,'' Krystkowiak said. "But it didn't look right.''
He said the suspect then asked Krystkowiak whether he could leave the bikes and go, but Krystkowiak said no. Then the suspect asked whether Krystkowiak, a mountain of a man at 6-foot-9, would follow him if he ran.
"Yeah, I'll run after you and tackle you,'' Krystkowiak said he told the suspect. "I made him sit down on the curb until the police came. He had five stolen cellphones on him. He had something to pick locks.''
Utah finished 15-18 last season, 5-13 in the Pac-12. The Utes are 21-43 under Krystkowiak overall.
However, Krystkowiak believes the Utes can make significant improvement in his third season.
Utah returns seven players and will have just one senior and five juniors on their 14 man roster. There is not one player on the roster who has been with the program more than one season.
Sophomores Jordan Loveridge (12.1 ppg and 6.97 rpg) and Brandon Taylor (6.9 ppg) heads the returnees.