A fed-up local business owner is sending a strong message to criminals thinking about targeting his property: if you attempt a crime, you could be staring down a gun. He helped police nab a would-be car thief Monday night.
The business owner, Steve Moore, has had his cell phone shop broken into seven times. The last time was just over a week ago. As he was putting security bars over his window Monday night, he looked out and saw a man in his parking lot getting into his car.
Every day, Steve Moore sets up shop with his 7-year-old, home schooled daughter.
On Tuesday, it was business as usual for the single father and owner of a cell phone store on Chester Avenue. But, Monday night was anything but usual. That's when Moore came face to face with a man he says, was trying to take things from his car.
"So, as he tried to get away, I drew my gun and asked him questions, what was his name and asked him to be still," said Moore.
Moore says he held the would-be burglar at gunpoint until police got there.
He has owned his business for 16 years. Despite barring up windows and posting warning signs, it's been broken into seven times. Surveillance cameras have caught some of the hooded burglars in action. But, as far as Moore knows, the images haven't helped police catch them. So, after the fifth time he became a licensed and registered gun owner and the "go to" guy for those working at neighboring businesses, like Nick Mihalopoulos.
"It made me feel a little bit safer because I knew I was in an area of high crime. If someone were to come in here, all I had to do is go next door that can back me up and be there way faster than police," said Mihalopoulos.
"I'm just protecting myself and my child and my family and my property," said Moore.
Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson, recommends calling police when someone sees a crime.
"Yeah, it's legal to pull a gun on someone if you are authorized to carry a weapon," said Chief Williamson.
Moore is licensed to carry a gun on his property, home and business, and state laws say he can defend it. However, firing a gun during a property crime is a different story.
"So, breaking into a car isn't one of those options unless they feel their life is in danger and they would have to be able to prove that," said Chief Williamson.
"I hope that I am preventing him from doing any further damage to me and all I really wanted was for the police to come and intervene in this situation," said Moore.
The suspect has been identified as 33-year-old Jason Perrette. He was arrested for vehicle burglary and booked into the Kern County Jail.