Two men and a teen received recognition this month for helping lead police to suspects in a pair of unrelated cases dating back to 2008.

Ryan Dashiell is an electric meter technician.

Paul Keeley is a contractor.

And Derrick Smith is a high school student.

Yet at some point in last five years, each of them also briefly became crime fighters by helping the Middletown Police Department locate suspects in a pair of unrelated cases.

"When citizens get involved by assisting the police department, it's very noteworthy and worth recognizing," said Middletown Police Chief Henry Tobin, who earlier this month presented Dashiell, Keely and Smith with certificates of appreciation honor their service. "We don't ask people to do our job for us, but we do rely on them to direct us where we need to be so we can do our job effectively."

That's exactly what Paul Keeley, a 58-year-old Elkton, Md., resident and the owner of Dunrite Construction, did on Feb. 16, 2011, although that wasn't exactly his plan.

Keeley had just finished up some routine handyman work for a longtime customer and was shooting the breeze with her son when he noticed two young men walking down the street on Shallcross Place.

"We didn't think much about it, and didn't even really notice them turn and walk up the next door neighbor's driveway," he said. "Even after we heard a loud boom and crash and saw that the side door of the neighbor's house was open, I just assumed it was the wind and went back to my truck to eat my lunch."

What Keeley didn't know was that Derrick Smith, a student at St. George's Technical High School, also heard the crash and called 911.

"The next thing I knew the place was surrounded by police cars and there was a helicopter flying around," Keeley said. "From where I was sitting, I could see right into the bay window and told police what the two guys inside were doing."

Police were able to arrest one burglar inside the home. A second suspect who fled the home was later apprehended at a local fast food restaurant.

Inside the home, officers discovered trash bags stuffed with stolen property, including five handguns.

"This great team effort by all resulted in the arrest of two individuals and prevented at least five stolen firearms from ending up on our streets," Tobin said.

Ryan Dashiell said he just happened to be at the right place at the right time in 2008, when he helped police locate a registered sex offender who had exposed himself to three young girls.

"The police told all the town employees to be on the lookout for a red car with red fuzzy dice," said Dashiell, a 15-year town employee. "I'm out and about in town all day so it didn't take me long to spot it."

Dashiell said he was heading north on Broad Street when he saw a vehicle matching the description provided by police parked at the Family Dollar.

He said he parked his town truck nearby, radioed the police department and waited for the officers to arrive.

Responding officers identified the driver of the vehicle as the wanted suspect and stopped his car on West Main Street, where he was taken into custody.

"It felt really good to help get that guy off the streets," Dashiell said. "I have young children, so I know how it feels to worry about your kids when someone like that is out there."