On Thursday around 4:15 p.m., Martin and a friend from college were out shopping at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles when he said he noticed a shoplifting in progress at the Versace Collection store just a few yards away.
Martin said one person had taken three purses and was running out of the store. Martin, whose name might sound familiar since he was in the center of the Miami Dolphins' bullying controversy in 2013, saw another person in the process of snatching items and he sprung into action.
Martin told Shutdown Corner that he ran across the corridor into the store and helped the security guard in corralling the second alleged shoplifter, who was a man larger than the security guard. Martin said he punched the person “five to eight times” until he went down. He wanted to do just enough to get the man to stop fighting so that he could be subdued by security.
The first alleged shoplifter got away.
“I didn't even think,” Martin told Shutdown Corner via phone on Thursday night. “I just reacted. It wasn't till later when [my friend] said, 'He could have had a gun.' I didn't even think about it. I just wanted to help.”
A security officer at the mall declined to comment on Thursday evening. Martin put out a casual tweet about the event hours after it happened:
Just took a dude out trying to rob a Versace store #CivicDuty
— Jonathan A. Martin (@J_Martin71) January 9, 2015
A second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 NFL draft, Martin became a household name when teammates were accused of bullying him, drawing attention to the culture of professional sports locker rooms. He played in 15 games and had nine starts in 2014, his first season with the 49ers.
Martin says there were no nerves in thwarting a crime in action. He didn't even have time to get scared, he admits.
“It took maybe 30 seconds,” Martin said about subduing the man. “It all happened so fast you don't really think about it. You just sort of react.”
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Kristian R. Dyer writes for Metro New York and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer