DA: No Charges for Doorman Who Tackled Prankster

Saturday, Jul 24, 2010  |  Updated 12:20 PM EDT
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DA: No Charges for Doorman Who Tackled Prankster

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This could lead to trouble.

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Albany's district attorney has decided not to prosecute a man who chased and tackled a teenager who rang his doorbell in a late-evening prank.

Daniel Van Plew, of Bethlehem, had initially been arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment after the July 17 incident.

A spokeswoman for Albany District Attorney David Soares declined to explain why he decided to drop the case.

Van Plew had received widespread public support for his actions following his arrest. He told the Times Union of Albany on Friday that he is grateful for the decision and hopes to put the matter behind him.

"It's been so unsettling that I haven't had time to step back and think about this," he said. "I don't think it's any more complex than a startled guy trying to protect his home and family."

An attorney for the teen's family expressed displeasure with the decision.

"This all seems political to me and it doesn't pass the smell test," said the lawyer, Kristie Hanson.

Van Plew, a 37-year-old pharmaceutical company executive, sprang from his house in his underwear after a group of teens pounded on his back door and rang his front doorbell in a prank called "ding dong ditch."

He caught one of the youths, a 14-year-old, and then made him wait in his house while he called the police.

The 14-year-old boy was cut and scraped during the takedown, but not seriously hurt.

Police initially cited the teen and his companions for trespassing, but charges that minor aren't admissible in the state's juvenile court system.

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