Elderly man fights off would-be burglar in Gardner

Posted: 05/08/13 at 10:50 pm EDT      Last Updated: 05/08/13 at 11:22 pm EDT

GARDNER, Mass. (WHDH) -- He has a grandchild and eight stents in his artery, but a 70-year-old Gardner man didn’t think twice when he fought back against a would-be burglar who broke into his house early Saturday morning.

“I’m 70 years old I had these braces on because I got arthritis,” said Mike Salame.

And despite his arthritis, Mike Salame has a serious right hook.

“He put his hands up on his face and said, ‘My face is bleeding,’ and he says, ‘You hit hard,’ and I said, ‘If you get up I’m going to hit you again,’” Salame said.

It was 2:30 Saturday morning when Salame heard noise from his backyard.

“Knowing that we’ve had a couple of bears in the backyard, I went downstairs to see what was going on,” he said.

Nothing was there -- but when he went over to the kitchen window, he noticed “… a man falling over my brush barrels.”

By the time he rounded the corner to get his phone, Salame was facing a 24-year-old burglar.

“I startled him as much as he startled me. And I just turned around and I grabbed him by the throat and I gave him a body slam on the floor,” Salame said.

But the man got up.

“He jumped up on the railing,” Salame said.

And Salame put up his dukes.

“I hit him three times in the mouth and he dropped to the corner and that’s where he stayed until the police department showed up,” Salame said.

For this retired welder, it was one round won for the senior division.

The suspect was arrested, and Salame hopes he gets some jail time.

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