Police dashcam video shows the man fleeing officers - but he couldn't get past Phyllis Pena.
She steps up to the fleeing suspect, wraps him in a bear hug and takes him down hard to the ground.
"It was a pretty good tackle," said Sgt. Roy Welch with the Lake Jackson Police Department.
The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Zane Hawkins.
Pena said she caught Hawkins peeking through her daughter's window when she got home on the morning of Jan. 31. When she confronted him, he took off. That's when she called police.
Officers arrived on scene and found Hawkins nearby, but he tried to run away. Pena said two officers tried taking Hawkins into custody. When they missed him, she said that's when Hawkins started running toward her.
That was when Pena stepped in with the hard tackle. Her daughter helped hold the suspect down until officers caught up.
Pena told KTRK that her instinct kicked in when she sacked the suspect.
"I jumped in front of him and just tackled him," she said. "It was just natural instinct, for whatever reason, to make sure he doesn't make it past me," she said.
She said she doesn't know where she learned how to tackle like that, saying "it just came naturally, which was really weird."
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"The cop fist-bumped me and he was like, 'Hey, so I heard the (Houston) Texans are looking for a new linebacker,'" Pena said.
She can laugh about it now, but at the time she was in serious mama-bear mode, saying she just wanted to protect her children.
"My kids are my life and (I was) just making sure I protect them pretty much," she said.
Hawkins was booked into jail and is facing charges that include possession of a controlled substance and evading arrest.
KPRC contributed to this report.