(MI) Armed store owner catches burglar


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Drizzt
May 16, 2003, 01:01 AM
Armed store owner catches burglar


Thursday, May 15, 2003

By Ken Kolker
The Grand Rapids Press




PORT SHELDON -- Robert Carini had no intention of becoming a "poster child" for the gun lobby, but he is resigned to the possibility.

The 39-year-old co-owner of Gold Coast Outfitters, who has a license to carry a concealed weapon, jumped out of bed early today and grabbed his semi-automatic pistol after he was awakened by a burglar alarm at his store.

By the time he reached his shop, the burglar was outside with a backpack full of sporting goods and a desire to leave.

Carini drew down on him.

Ottawa County sheriff's deputies arrived moments later and arrested the 23-year-old man from Hamilton. They were seeking warrants against him for burglary.

It is one of the few cases since the new concealed weapons law went into effect in July 2001 in which a legally armed citizen has apprehended an alleged criminal.

"I'd rather not be a poster child or anything like that," Carini said. "But I think it is a good thing if responsible citizens can protect their property and lives."

Carini, a former fire chief in Port Sheldon Township, lives a couple miles from the shop, 6755 Butternut Drive, on Pigeon Lake. The burglar alarm is wired to sound in his home, he said.

He was sleeping just before 1:30 a.m. when the alarm woke him. He said he got dressed and drove to the store. Burglars have broken into his store once or twice in the last five years, he said.

The burglar, who had broken a window to get in, had just climbed out the window when Carini approached him.

"In that situation, the adrenaline was definitely there," he said. "But to look back on it now, I guess I wasn't all that excited."

The man was carrying a backpack filled with several thousand dollars worth of telescopes and binoculars, Carini said.

"I told him to get down on the ground, lay down on his stomach and spread-eagle and not to move," he said.

"It turned out real good with the armed citizen doing something," said Deputy Brian Buter, who responded to the call. "It turned out quite positive."

Ottawa County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill DeWitt said police have mixed feelings about citizens using guns to catch criminals.

"We don't want to see citizens out there running around, sticking a gun in people's faces," he said. "But when they come across a felony and use it for self-protection, that's the purpose behind the law. A business owner has a right to protect his own property, as long as he stays within the CCW law.

"What he did is good. He did what the CCW law was meant for."

Carini said he has held a permit to carry a gun for about 20 years, but that was only while fishing and hunting. Several years ago, before the new concealed weapons law went into effect, he obtained a permit to carry a gun to protect his business.

When the state's CCW law went into effect in July 2001, Michigan became a "shall-issue" state, mandating county gun boards to grant permits to applicants if they are 21, have no recent criminal history, no mental problems and can pass a training course. Before that, most permits went to retired police officers and those with law enforcement connections.

The law also created gun-free zones: schools, day-care centers, hospitals, college dormitories and classrooms, churches, casinos, bars, restaurants that serve alcohol, and stadiums and arenas with a capacity of at least 2,500.

Since then, thousands of people have obtained permits to pack handguns.

The apprehension by a permit-holder is one of the few reported in the state since the Legislature made it easier for people to carry concealed weapons.

In February 2002, a Grand Rapids taxi driver pulled his Glock 27 .40-caliber handgun and fired two shots into the air after a fare put a knife to his throat and demanded money. Grand Rapids police arrived moments later and arrested the robber, who was later sentenced to prison.

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foghornl
May 16, 2003, 10:41 AM
Good on ya! ! !

The more instances of "Armed Citizens" beating back the Bad Guys, the better. Hey Sarah Brady...can you do this? ? ? I thought not...

Today's Box Score:
Good Guys 1
The Sleaze 0

Standing Wolf
May 16, 2003, 11:28 PM
"What he did is good. He did what the CCW law was meant for."

So much for the bloodbath in the streets, I guess.

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