Black belt pins Uptown shoplifter until cops arrive: ‘Lemme go, homie!’ outmatched man begs on Facebook livestream

Christopher Cruz had a bad night.

“Hey, hey homie. Let me go, man, homie,” Cruz, bent like a pretzel, begged as 3rd-degree black belt jiu-jitsu instructor Idriz Redzovic pinned him to the floor of an Uptown convenience store Thursday evening.

It didn’t work.

“He assaulted a 7-Eleven employee, so I jumped in and took him to the ground and did a gift wrap hold, which is taught in the art of Jiu-Jitsu,” Redzovic explains. He teaches the martial art at Supreme Jiu-Jitsu Chicago.

Christopher Cruz | CPD; Idriz Redzovic

For more than 13 minutes, Redzovic effortlessly contained Cruz while waiting for Chicago police to arrive at the store, 1532 West Lawrence, after Cruz allegedly stole food and punched a store employee.

The task was so easy, Redzovic even propped his phone up to livestream everything. At one point, Redzovic’s car alarm activated outside. Redzovic cooly changed his hold on Cruz so he could deactivate the alarm with his key fob.

“What are you, Russian?” Cruz asks. “Syrian?”

“I’m Bosnian,” Redzovic replies.

“We’re Bosnian homies!” Cruz pleads.

“You’re a Bosnian nothing,” counters Redzovic.

According to a CPD spokesperson, Cruz stole food from the store around 8 p.m. and then came back a little while later. A store clerk told him to leave.

“The offender took a fighting stance,” a CPD spokesperson said optimistically, “at which time the employee informed the offender that if he did not leave the police would be called.”

“The offender then punched the employee/victim and a witness detained the offender until police arrived,” the spokesperson continued.

Things got tense about six minutes after Redzovic’s phone started recording. Cruz bucked around and tossed some obscenities. He calmed down eventually and declared a pressing need for a cigarette.

When cops finally arrived, Redzovic eased off of Cruz’s back as two cops moved in with handcuffs.

“What’s going on?” another cop asked upon entering the store.

“I know Jiu-Jitsu,” Redzovic replied, “so…”

Cruz was charged with misdemeanor retail theft and misdemeanor battery. He was released from the police station on his own recognizance less than five hours later, according to CPD records.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is