A MAN will face Gympie Magistrates Court today following a dramatic theft and assault in Mary St yesterday.
The owner of Goodyear Jewellers, David Hetherington, was bloodied and looking a little worse for wear after he gave chase and helped wrestle the alleged thief to the ground just after noon, receiving a bite wound to his right forearm in the process.
Mr Hetherington, who will soon turn 67, said the drama began when a man walked into his jewellery store and said he wanted to look at some rings.
Mr Hetherington said the man kept asking to see "something bigger" until Mr Hetherington asked him how much he wanted to spend.
"Then I looked down and noticed that his hand was shaking."
The man then allegedly grabbed a tray of engagement rings, worth thousands of dollars, sitting on the counter, and sprinted out of the shop.
Mr Hetherington gave chase down Mary St, shouting "Stop him! Thief!"
A courier driver stopped at a pedestrian crossing about 50m away was able to stop the man and hold him.
"I'm not sure if the (courier driver) got him with the door or just what it was," Mr Hetherington said.
"I tried to get (the alleged thief) in a stranglehold, the bastard, and he bit me.
"It ended up there were about four blokes holding him down. The police got there pretty quickly."
Meanwhile, further up Mary St, more drama was unfolding in Cullinane's Plaza where bemused shoppers were evacuated after a fire alarm went off and fire crews from the Gympie Fire Station arrived.
"What's next? A bomb threat?" one store owner wondered.
Mr Hetherington spent part of the afternoon at the doctor, where he was given a tetanus shot and his bite wound was "cleaned and cleaned and cleaned" and then dressed.
"I just wish I'd had a lump of steel in my pocket mate," he said of his close encounter.
"Nineteen years in this business and I've never had anything like this."
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