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Suspect tackled, detained by Perham graduate

Bar keeping and bouncing experience--combined with a dose of upper-Midwestern responsibility and ethics--was the background that inspired a Perham graduate to break up what appeared to be a potential abduction situation.

Former Yellowjacket football fullback and 2005 graduate McLain Woessner chased and tackled the suspect outside a Florida hotel. With the help of three fellow students, they held and detained him until hotel security and police officers arrived.

"We were in the pool area of the hotel, and I noticed a person that seemed unusual, suspicious," said Woessner, an engineering student at North Dakota State University who was there for a conference.

"I'm sort of used to watching that type of person," said Woessner. His skill at recognizing potential trouble situations comes from his experience as a bartender and bouncer.

The suspect had evidently been sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl who was staying at the hotel with her parents.

The suspect wandered back into the pool area several times, even after he was accosted by the girl's mother, said Woessner.

Finally, the suspect returned for the last time and Woessner saw an altercation developing between the suspect and the girl's father.

At that point Woessner, and his friends, went over to investigate.

"All we were really going to do is escort him to the hotel's front desk and notify hotel management," said Woessner. But the suspect took off running, until Woessner caught up with him in the lobby of the hotel.

What charges were filed after security and police arrived and took the suspect away are uncertain, said Woessner. He was soon on a flight back to NDSU to finish spring semester.

Woessner insisted that he not be portrayed as a hero. He also wanted to point out that he had a little help from his friends: NDSU classmate Joseph Marcella; Joseph Long, Kentucky; and Jared Hatchett, Texas.

His experience in night club work, currently at Old Broadway in Fargo, was a factor. His black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which he earned in Perham, was also an asset.

But mostly, said Woessner, it was his Midwestern upbringing.

"I really do feel we have a harder work ethic...more of a tendency to help out others," he said, adding, "I even saw that at the conference we were at. The volunteer students from NDSU were more helpful and worked harder than most of the others."

Back in Ottertail, his father Lauris Woessner breathed a sigh of relief when he learned that McLain was uninjured and all right down in Florida.

"I was always a little nervous about him bouncing at the bar...You never know if somebody might be carrying a knife or weapon," said Lauris. "But he's kind of a fearless guy, and he can take care of himself...I'm glad to know he did the right thing."