Harald Mikkelsen, aged 66, has owned a grocery store in Talvik outside Alta for the last 30 years. A few days ago, he received a call that a dubious person wearing a ski mask was sneaking around his shop in the middle of the night. With no time to call the police, he jumped into his tractor that had a forklift mounted on the front, and drove straight over to his shop – just in time to catch the burglar red-handed breaking down the front door.
The masked villain immediately cancelled his plans, ran to his getaway car and tried to drive off – only to crash into the front of Mikkelsen’s tractor. By a stroke of luck, the front of the car got stuck in the forklift and all Mikkelsen had to do to keep the burglar from escaping was to lift his front off the ground. The burglar was struggling to get his car loose, but each time he pressed the accelerator, Mikkelsen would just lift the fork a little higher.
Witnesses were drawn to the scene by the noise, and one of them lent Mikkelsen his phone so he could finally call the police. It took another 45 minutes before they arrived. In the meantime, the burglar had struggled to free his car so much that Mikkelsen had now lifted all his four wheels off the ground.
“We had eye contact the whole time,” says Mikkelsen. “Eventually he gave up, took off his ski mask and just lit up a smoke. For some reason he didn’t want to leave the car.”
When the police arrived to pick up their “old friend” the burglar, they could hardly believe the scene: A burglar sitting in his jacked-up getaway car puffing away on a cigarette, and a very determined and mean-looking shop owner keeping him in line from behind the wheel of his tractor.
The incident was also filmed by a couple of German tourists.
In other Western countries, vigilante behaviour is frowned upon (and you can even get sued by the criminal). But in Norway the police and even the mayor praised Mikkelsen’s resourcefulness.
**UPDATE: Even though Mikkelsen, now nicknamed “Tractor-Harald”, has become somewhat of a national hero after the incident, the police have later informed that they are considering investigating his actions. In a statement to national newspaper VG, the police “warn people against taking the law in their own tractor”. When informed of this, Mikkelsen replied: “I had the right of way.”
However, as it turns out, the police quickly dismissed the investigation on the grounds that “everyone has the right to protect their property and to detain criminals caught in the act.”
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