If Larry Krystkowiak has as much success this season as he did this past week fighting crime on Utah's campus, the Utes might finally turn into a winner.
Krystkowiak had his hands in two different crime-stopping incidents on campus within a four-day period -- one stopping an alleged bike thief last Saturday and the other Tuesday, leading a hunt to nab a suspect who had collected thousands of dollars worth of video equipment and gear from the Utah athletic offices.
Krystkowiak said Friday night that he was cleared by police to discuss the latest incident.
He said the basketball video offices were hit two weeks ago, with equipment and computers stolen.
"Once that happened, we took it personal and were diligent with the players to make them aware,'' Krystkowiak said.
He said the baseball offices also were hit, this time this past Saturday, and then there was an attempt to steal from the swim coaches' office. Krystkowiak said the suspect was seen leaving the offices after a volleyball match. An eyewitness account gave Krystkowiak a profile to relay to his team.
"I told our team to be on the lookout and, if they saw anything suspicious, to take a picture,'' Krystkowiak said. "Then, one of our former players, Jarred DuBois, was working out at 11 p.m. two weeks ago in the Huntsman Center and saw a guy with gloves on and a huge backpack busting into the marketing department. I told him, 'If you see that guy again, then take his picture.' He did, the next day in the parking lot, and took his picture on his cellphone.''
Krystkowiak showed the photo to the other coaches, and they confirmed that person was the suspect seen after the volleyball match.
Then on Tuesday, Krystkowiak's phone beeped with a message from assistant track coach Burke Bockman saying the suspect was seen in the parking lot.
Krystkowiak rallied his managers, Hans Steinbrenner and Austin DeSilva, and video coordinator Scott McByrne, and the pursuit began.
"We split up and chased him all over campus,'' Krystkowiak said. "The two managers cornered him in a locker room.''
Krystkowiak said they didn't know whether the suspect was armed but they still pursued.
"They were nervous and at first weren't sure it was him, but then they saw he had the New Jersey Nets backpack that was stolen from our video guy. They chased him down,'' he said.
Krystkowiak said that when he met up with them, the suspect was cuffed and in the police car. He said the suspect had on NBA socks that he had "stolen from us. So I tapped on the window, and when he looked up at me, I showed him the picture on my cellphone and said, 'Hey buddy, is this you? We've been looking for you.' It was good seeing him in handcuffs.''
Krystkowiak said the police told him the suspect had rented a nearby hotel room, and stored thousands of dollars worth of Utah stolen goods and was trying to sell them on Craigslist.
Krystkowiak said he wrote a $1,000 check to the two managers for them to share for their crime fighting.
Three days earlier, Krystkowiak was alone when he nabbed the alleged bike thief. He was walking into the Huntsman Center with coffee at 7:30 a.m. when he saw a man holding onto a second bike while riding. He said it didn't look right, put down his coffee, and ran up to the corner and caught him.
He said the suspect originally said it was his girlfriend's bike.
"I almost bought it,'' Krystkowiak said. "But it didn't look right.''
He said the suspect then asked Krystkowiak whether he could leave the bikes and go, but Krystkowiak said no. Then the suspect asked whether Krystkowiak, a mountain of a man at 6-foot-9, would follow him if he ran.
"Yeah, I'll run after you and tackle you,'' Krystkowiak said he told the suspect. "I made him sit down on the curb until the police came. He had five stolen cellphones on him. He had something to pick locks.''
"That one was kind of fun,'' Krystkowiak said. "But the other one was more important.''
The Utes finished 15-18 last season, 5-13 in the Pac-12. However, Krystkowiak said he's convinced the Utes can make significant improvement in his third season.
"It was an interesting week of crime fighting,'' said Krystkowiak, whose Utes started practicing this past week. "Now we just have to win some games.''