The resident, who asked not to be named, said the man seemed intoxicated and he later was told he was allegedly one of three men who had earlier escaped prison.
The incident occurred late Tuesday night and carried on until about 1.20am on Wednesday.
The witness told CI News yesterday that he and his wife had been watching a DVD when he thought he heard their motorbike running.
“Then I saw a faint light going past the bedroom window. I raced outside and saw our motorbike driving out towards the main road.”
He grabbed his phone, keys and a shirt and jumped on to their other motorbike. He pursued the thief to all the way to town.
“I didn’t think he could go that fast on that bike!”
The thief got to Tupapa then stopped and started heading back towards town. “I heard my bike coming towards me.”
He turned his own bike around and when the man pulled into a carpark near the courthouse roundabout, stopped and confronted him.
“I cornered him and he was very apologetic. Then he got aggressive and pulled a weapon on me. He seemed to be intoxicated.
“I didn’t hang around and went to the police station.”
After explaining the situation to the police, the man then went with them to help search for the offender.
He said the man was seen crossing the road from Raro Fried Chicken, near Trader Jacks.
“The police got out of the car and spoke to him. The guy ignored them and walked off. Then he turned and brandished a weapon at the police. Then he took off on foot.”
More police cars arrived, the witness said, and prison staff too.
“There must have been 20 of them. Next thing he’s bolted out of his hiding place and headed towards Trader Jacks.”
After police and prison staff boxed him in, the man dived into the water and swam out into the channel, the witness said.
“He refused to come back in. He must have been out there for an hour.”
An IRB was sent out to retrieve him, “but he avoided that.”
Eventually a prison officer swam out and grabbed the man. “He was holding on to him with one arm and the boat with the other.”
The man was then dragged in to shore.
The witness told CI News he was very concerned that residents living near the prison had not been informed of the escape.
He said the offender had seemed intoxicated and so he wondered how long he had been free, or if he had been intoxicated in prison before he escaped.
“It would have been a courtesy (for authorities) to let people know there had been an escape and that they were not to approach him.”
CI News contacted both Police Commissioner Maara Tetava and Ministry of Justice secretary Tingika Elikana for comment, but no reply had been received from either before the newspaper went to print yesterday.