Sacramento sheriff's officers learned a valuable lesson this week. Tackling a would-be burglar is a lot easier when you are wearing pads.
Members of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's football team, who were practicing an annual charity game known as "the Guns and Hoses," tackled a would-be burglar Monday.
"World's dumbest criminals -- they belong in that category," said Gene Chapman, the football team's manager.
A group of three men get the title because while running from police at least one of them made a b-line toward the practice field.
"That had to be the most fun foot pursuit I've had in a long time," Sacramento police officer T.J. Price said.
Here's how it all started.
At about 3:35 p.m. Monday, a homeowner in the 4700 block of Robert Frost Way contacted officials during an attempted burglary.
Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran said responding deputies nabbed 19-year-old Jamario Hill in a back yard after he hopped a fence. Police say two other men headed toward Foothill High School, where the deputies were practicing.
"As I arrived in the area, I noticed two other suspects that matched the description. So as I made a U-turn to try and stop them. They took off running through the school here behind us," Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Curtis said.
Unbeknownst to the fleeing pair, the Hogs football team was on the school's football field practicing for the upcoming game.
"We're off duty right now having fun, and you don't expect a criminal to come right in your lap and take off running from you," Price said.
With the Sacramento Police Department’s Air 1 helicopter overhead making public announcements describing the fleeing burglary suspects, members of the football team saw a subject matching the suspects’ descriptions running through the football stadium and gave chase.
"I was thinking they were just a football team helping us out and doing us a favor," Curtis said.
"He made a bad choice running onto the field," Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Gregory said. "I just asked him to come over and talk to me, and he took off running."
Gregory said he tackled 20-year-old James Hill Jr. on a hillside near the field. He then got handcuffs from an officer who had arrived at the field and took Hill Jr. into custody.
Another attempted burglary suspect, identified as the 17-year-old brother of the other two suspects, was also taken into custody, Curran said.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Department says 19-year-old Jamario Hill, 20-year-old James Hill, Jr. and their 17-year-old brother were nabbed in a would-be robbery in Foothill Farms.
The three brothers face charges of attempted burglary and conspiracy. The two adult brothers were booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail. The juvenile brother was booked into the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.
The Hogs are made up of area law enforcement officers who play against the Dogs in the annual charity football game. The Dogs' team is comprised of local firefighters. This year’s game will mark the 35th anniversary of the competition, which used to be known as the Pig Bowl. The seventh annual game takes place on Jan. 30.
KCRA.com contributed to this report.