Enquirer: February 6, 1979
by Ron Caylor

 

"Stop! Thief!"

A young woman's frantic cry for help sets actor Terry Carter - who played a cop for seven years on McCloud - on a real-life car chase wilder than anything he ever experienced on TV.

Carter, who's now known to millions of viewers as Col. Tigh of Battlestar Galactica, was in Washington, D.C., on business when the thief struck.

"I was sitting in my car outside a restaurant when a man came charging out of the door with a young woman on his heels," he recalled. "The woman yelled: 'Stop! Thief!' But the purse-snatcher bolted down the street and no one made a move to stop him.

"I don't like to see a woman abused like that, so I started up my car and took off after him. There was a car in front of me, stopped at a red light. I leaned on my horn till the driver moved aside, then I went right through the light, dodging the traffic."

Carter screeched to a halt at the next light, only to see the thief cross the road and jump through the open door of an oncoming bus.

"I blocked the bus with my car," he said, describing the heart-stopping moment when, horn blaring, he slammed his car across the path of the rush hour traffic and forced the bus to a halt.

"I got out and told the driver to open the door," Carter declared. "Then I grabbed the thief and said: 'O.K., let's go.' He came along quietly, evidently believing I was a cop."

The actor threw the thief in his car, but the man jumped out again and ran into the alleyway of a bus terminal. "I guessed he'd probably come out the front entrance," Carter said. "So I leaned on my car horn and sped round to the front, yelling at people to get out of the way.

"My timing was perfect. I caught the man just as he was leaving the terminal."

"If the guy had pulled a knife or gun I don't know what I would have done - I'm no karate expert - but he gave up without a struggle. I guess during those seven years on McCloud I learned how to talk and act like a cop. The thief certainly thought I was for real."

Carter drove back to the restaurant and turned the hood over to the police.

"One of the detectives kept looking at me strangely," he smiled. "He later called me and explained that he thought my face was familiar. He figured I was a cop, but couldn't recall what precinct I was with.

"It wasn't till hours afterwards he realized I was just a TV cop!"