PORTLAND, Ore. – Gert Boyle, the 86-year-old leader of Columbia Sportswear whose book describes her as "One Tough Mother," fooled a robber by tripping a silent alarm at her suburban home, summoning police and leading to the capture of a suspect.
She was roughed up when the robber tied her hands Wednesday afternoon, police said, but wasn't seriously injured.
Boyle, who chairs the Oregon-based company's board, did take an unusual day off from work Thursday, a spokesman said.
She burnished her hard-nosed reputation after her husband died of a heart attack and she took over Columbia in 1970. In the 1980s, a national ad campaign showed her putting her son Tim and the products through extreme tests and her flexing her biceps tattooed with the words "Born to Nag."
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On Wednesday, police said, Boyle pulled into the driveway of her home in West Linn and the robber approached her posing as a delivery man. But when she got suspicious, he pulled a gun and ordered her inside the house.
Boyle told the robber she had to disable the alarm but instead tripped a silent panic button that summoned officers.
When one arrived, he saw that Boyle's hands were bound and someone appeared to be inside the house. But the robber escaped through a back door and into a ravine.
Six hours later at about 11:20 p.m., said Sgt. Neil Hennelly, an officer saw a man limping outside a McDonald's where he had apparently been trying to clean himself. His face was scratched, and he told the officer he had been working on the trees, Hennelly said.
The man identified himself as 39-year-old Nestor G. Caballero and police booked him on charges of burglary, robbery and kidnapping. They found jewelry that appeared to be from Boyle's house, he said.
Hennelly said the man told them he targeted Boyle, but they don't have an indication he had committed any similar crimes. Nor are police certain of his identity, Hennelly said.
"We have no indication this guy has a criminal record, based on the name he's given us," Hennelly said.
Despite bumps and bruises, Boyle's business instincts came to the fore when the West Linn police chief visited to brief her on the investigation.
"He mistakenly wore a North Face jacket, and he asked her how she was doing," Hennelly said. "She said she was doing fine until that jacket walked through the door."