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Burglar picks wrong house, MMA fighter beats him 'with mercy'

Houston Chronicle Houston Chronicle 6/10/2015 Colleen Henry, WISN-TV
Burglar picks wrong house, MMA fighter beats him 'with mercy' © WISN Milwaukee Burglar picks wrong house, MMA fighter beats him 'with mercy'

A Milwaukee man recently picked the wrong home to try to break into.

It was Dan LaSavage's first night in his new Menomonee Falls home. He had put his 3-year-old daughter to bed and awoke to strange noises.

"As I walked fast, I turned around, and it was right here," LaSavage said. "He had blue latex gloves on, and I was like, 'What are you doing here?' He popped up and had like crazy eyes and was like 'Ahhhahhh.' He didn't, like, say any words."

Police said the intruder was 47-year-old Richard Melville, a career criminal. That night, Melville met his match.

"He came head first like this and as he came through, I dug my arm underneath, and I put my hand through," LaSavage said. "Basically, within five to six seconds of a tight choke like that, you're going to pass out."

LaSavage was once known as "Savage" Dan LaSavage, a professional martial arts fighter. His instincts kicked in.

"As he passed out. I grabbed him by his jacket, and I dragged him," LaSavage said.

When police arrived, LaSavage took a picture of the suspect still passed out on the porch.

To LaSavage, fighting is more than a hobby - he's turned it into an international business.

His business, Combat Corner, makes martial arts equipment. His mission is to encourage others to learn to defend themselves.

"If people can do that for themselves, it will put them in a much better situation than just hoping someone else is going to protect them or save them," LaSavage said.

LaSavage said he only used the force necessary to stop his burglar.

"I did beat him pretty good, but I beat him with mercy," he said. "I just wanted to make sure he wasn't going to do what he did here, and he'd never come back. I guarantee he'll never come back."

Melville is now charged with felony burglary, but LaSavage thinks he got lucky. Had he crossed a homeowner who used a gun instead of his hands, he might be dead.

Police said they also found a crack pipe on the suspect. Melville's also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.

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