When Abbotsford teen Matteo Rossit-Lavigne heard he and his mom were getting a police commendation for capturing a thief last September he was mostly bemused.
"I kinda started laughing," said the 19-year-old UFV student.
"Why would somebody want to give us an award for doing what should have been done?"
Regardless, on Tuesday Mayor Bruce Banman presented Matteo and his mother, Angelina Rossit, with a commendation for their courage and initiative in helping collar a would-be crook.
Matteo awoke around 1 a.m. on Sept. 24 to the sound of someone rummaging around a truck in the driveway of his family's home.
Looking out his bedroom window, he first believed it was his brother until he thought it was strange his older sibling would be wielding a flashlight.
Matteo yelled at the thief to get out of the truck to no avail.
Throwing on a pair of shorts - which he later realized he'd put on backwards - he banged on his mother's bedroom door and the pair rushed downstairs and outside.
The suspect finally got out of the truck after seeing Matteo and Angelina and made a break for it. Without giving it much thought, Matteo gave chase in bare feet.
"I've lived in this house my entire life and I know all my neighbours," he said.
"He violated that. I didn't really think about it; it just kind of happened."
The suspect tried to evade his pursuer, even throwing a garbage can at him, but Matteo, a former rugby player, managed to grapple the man to the ground before searching his pockets for the family's possessions or a weapon.
"I was scared to death he'd pull a knife or some kind of gun," said Matteo.
"My adrenaline was going nuts."
Matteo then hauled the protesting suspect back to the front yard while his mother called 911.
After a couple more struggles and attempted escapes by the suspect, an increasingly exhausted Matteo was able to pin the man down until police arrived. The teen said he made a conscious decision during his struggle with the man not to hurt him.
"He hadn't hurt anyone in our family and as far as I know, he didn't try to hurt me. He just ran away," Matteo said.
"I didn't know what his situation was . . . maybe he hadn't eaten for a couple days.
"I wasn't going to hurt him but I wasn't going to let him get away either."
It would have been a different story if he'd come into the house, he added.
Matteo's mom now teases him about his super hero incident, and has taken to referring to him as "Matt Man".
"She keeps joking she doesn't have to worry any more, and that she hadn't seen me 'in action' for a long time," said Matteo who describes himself as pretty easy-going and not known for getting into fisticuffs.
Overall, he was pleased with his commendation but a bit bashful about it all.
"It was actually kind of hard. I've never had to deal with so many people congratulating me."