Pulitzer Prize-winning professor foils bank robbery - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Pulitzer Prize-winning professor foils bank robbery

(NBC) - A Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer turned college professor has another title to add to his resume: Crime Fighter.

His name is Kim Komenich and he's an assistant professor in San Jose State's journalism department. 

Komenich was getting some errands done while on a break when he noticed a bank robbery in progress. Instead of standing there, Komenich put the robber in a bear hug and held him until police arrived.

"He just sort of stood there with me, and there was this really awkward period there.  This went on for 4-5 minutes.  It was one of the weirdest moments of my life," said Komenich. 

Komenich says he noticed a man who appeared drunk in line ahead of him. Then he noticed the same man raising his voice as he started to talk to the teller.  Once he saw a note being passed, Komenich knew this was a stick up.

"The teller joked with the guy, saying, 'Is this for real?'" Komenich said.

"The guy said, 'Yeah, it's for real,'" explained Komenich. 

He said when he saw the guy put his hand in his pocket he stepped in because he thought he was going for a gun.

"I just figured, if the guy has a note that says I've got a gun, and he reaches into his pocket, if a time something's going to go bad, now's the time," Komenich said.

The 53 year-old former newspaper photographer is 6'2" and weighs 260 pounds.

He put his size to good use and put the would-be robber in a bear hug hold.

Police identified the robber as 45-year-old Anthony Fernandes.

They also nabbed two accomplices police say where working with Fernandes. 

They have been identified as 39 year-old Johnnie Dale Gray and 40-year-old Tamara Leeann Kennert.

Komenich won his Pulitzer Prize for covering the revolution that toppled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1987.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.

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