Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers player says he used ‘arm bar’ wrestling move to help make an arrest

Carolina Panthers fullback Alex Armah says he used an “arm-bar” wrestling move to detain a person he saw attempting to enter his vehicle on Feb. 6 at his apartment complex in Charlotte.
Carolina Panthers fullback Alex Armah says he used an “arm-bar” wrestling move to detain a person he saw attempting to enter his vehicle on Feb. 6 at his apartment complex in Charlotte. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers fullback Alex Armah says he used an “arm-bar” wrestling move to detain a person he saw attempting to enter his vehicle on Feb. 6 at his apartment complex in Charlotte.

Daniel Cagle, 32, was then arrested by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on charges of attempting to break into or enter a motor vehicle, according to a CMPD report.

On the day of the incident, Armah was working out in his apartment when he said he was alerted by the OWL dashboard camera he had installed in his car that a man was attempting to break into the vehicle.

In the U.S., a private citizen can “arrest” an individual engaged in a serious crime, but the rules vary by state.

“It alerts me when there’s any type of movement or motion around my vehicle,” Armah told the Observer on Monday. “I got an alert on my phone, and it shows you a preview of what is going on. And it tells you ‘event in process.’ When I looked at it, there was a still frame of someone in my vehicle, going through my stuff.”

Armah said he ran downstairs to confront the suspect, and asked him what he was doing in his car.

“He was just like, ‘Hey man, is this your car?’ And I asked him what he was doing inside of it... He was in denial, like, ‘Nah, nah, I was just admiring it,’ ” said Armah. “He kept trying to lie. I said, ‘C’mon man, I have a camera that clearly shows you were in my car.”

Armah said the man told him he lived in the building, and was simply admiring the car. So Armah said he asked the man to walk with him to the front office of the apartment building so they could check the security cameras.

When they got to the office, Armah said he asked the building concierge if he had ever seen the man before — and that’s when he said the man changed his story.

“He was like, ‘My friend lives here, I was just walking through,’” recounted Armah. “At that point, me and the concierge looked at each other and the dude tried to make a run for it.

“I snatched him up by his shirt.”

cagleMUGSHOT.jpeg
Daniel Cagle Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Armah said the concierge called the police, and at that point the man attempted to flee a second time.

“Eventually I get him on the ground, and I put him in an arm bar,” said Armah. He said he detained the suspect for about three minutes by holding him in an arm bar, until police arrived and handcuffed him.

“The guy wasn’t small, he had some size on him,” said Armah. “But he didn’t have a chance. I take pride in my car.”

Armah, 24 and a native of Gwinnett County, Ga., is entering his third season with the Carolina Panthers after he was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft. Fans on social media sometimes refer to him affectionately as “Armahgeddon.”

The Feb. 6 incident was actually the second time Armah’s car has been broken into, he said. The first incident prompted Armah to install the OWL camera, which he said then caught footage of the latest attempt to break and enter the vehicle.

Cagle has faced prior criminal charges in Mecklenburg County District Court, including in 2012 for felony vehicle break-in and in 2016 for misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, court records show. Prosecutors in 2015 agreed to dismiss the break-in charge if he met certain conditions, records show.

Cagle received a prayer for judgment on the gun charge, which allowed him to plead guilty without having the offense entered against him.

Observer reporter Joe Marusak contributed to this report.

Jourdan has covered the Carolina Panthers as a beat writer since 2016, and froze during Pennsylvania winters as an award-winning Penn State football beat writer before that. A 2014 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, she’s on a never-ending quest for trick plays and the stories that give football fans goosebumps.

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