Paul Robinson had the car thief in a headlock and was trying to get him out of the driver's seat.
Then the thief found the accelerator pedal and drove off, dragging Mr Robinson some distance before crashing into a trailer.
About 6.30am on Wednesday, Mr Robinson was leaving his home in Semillon Place. Dapto, when he saw a man walking down the side of his neighbour Erminio Dawson's place.
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"I noticed a bloke in the wrong place at the wrong time," Mr Robinson said. "I thought I better go and investigate."
After talking to the man and ringing the police, Mr Robinson went to knock on his neighbour's door.
Meanwhile the mystery man had picked up a garden paver and smashed a window of Mr Dawson's garage.
"He tried to start my motorbike - he couldn't get that going," Mr Dawson said.
"By this stage, he found the remote to the garage door, and my wife came down the stairs and fronted him. He had a couple of swings at her and, as the door was opening, he found the keys to my little Ford Fiesta."
Mr Robinson then ran to help his neighbours.
"Once the garage door come open I tried to wrestle him out of the car," Mr Robinson said.
"He managed to get the ignition on and get it in gear and accelerate away with me hanging onto him.
"I was trying to turn the ignition key off and stay with him. I didn't want to let go - I didn't want to end up underneath the car."
At around 40km/h, the thief dragged Mr Robinson down the driveway and across the road, coming to a stop after hitting a trailer parked across the road.
We're always looking after each other in our area and keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity. I think more people have got to be aware it can happen in your area.
That forced Mr Robinson to relax his headlock and the man stepped over him and ran off.
Mr Dawson chased him down onto the Princes highway, near the motorway overpass.
"He climbed the hill and went onto the M1 motorway," Mr Dawson said. "I had no shoes on so I couldn't get up there."
When he got home, the police had arrived with the dog squad, who took off towards the motorway. Around 40 minutes later, they'd found their man.
It was only after the morning's excitement that Mr Dawson realised the man had also broken into another car parked on the street in front of their house.
Mr Robinson suffered abrasions along his legs and six stitches over his eye after hitting his face on the door during the crash.
"I just really wanted to stop him from stealing the car," Mr Robinson said.
"We're always looking after each other in our area and keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity.
"I think more people have got to be aware it can happen in your area."
Rather than take it easy after the incident, Mr Robinson went to work - as a spare parts manager in the trucking industry
"I don't want to let other people down either, he said.
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