2 men awarded medals for capturing wanted bank robber

9:00 AM, May 18, 2012   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - At a ceremony Thursday, the Bloomington Police Department awarded Mark Mateski and his roommate Scott Martin for their actions on January 7 of this year. It's an ordeal Mateski will never forget.

"I think about it almost every day. We were all pretty shaken up," said Mateski.

It was a Saturday afternoon. Mateski, Martin and two other roommates were in the living room at their Bloomington home when a stranger barged in through the front door.

The intruder was 44-year old William Roy St. John of South Dakota. Already wanted for two bank robberies in the Twin Cities area, a desperate St. John had invaded other homes in the neighborhood looking for a way out.

"He told us to get on the ground and he started pacing around the house," recalls Mateski. "He was holding a screwdriver and said he had a gun."

St. John told the group he needed a hostage, grabbed Mateski, and led him downstairs.

"I was terrified. We had no idea what he was capable of doing," he said. "He wanted a car and was going to take me with."

But when St. John briefly turned his back, Mateski made his move.

"I tackled him down the stairs and tried to hold him down," said Mateski.

The struggle continued until Mateski was able to pin the intruder on the ground and yell for his roommate.

"Scott came over, took the iron and hit him over the head," said Mateski.

Police arrived seconds later.

"Every time I walk by these stairs I think about it," said Mateski.

"They are heroes," said Deputy Chief Rick Hart. "They defended their home and made the community safer. Who knew what this man could've done had he gotten away?"

Both Mateski and Martin say they are humbled by the award and yet thankful everybody was ok.

Meanwhile, St. John was sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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