Akron business owner — fed up by several break-ins — holds crook until police arrive

Posted at 3:58 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 16:35:59-04

An Akron business owner pretended to have a gun as a scare tactic to keep a crook at bay until police arrived.

Joe Riley, who owns TR Construction, entered his 500,000-square-foot building on Bank Street Friday afternoon and spotted a man holding brass parts in a milk crate worth an estimated $1,500.

"I said, 'Hey, put that down and we need to walk up to the front right now,'" Riley said. "I told him you need to walk up front. There can be consequences and repercussions if you don't."

Riley said he called police after the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Robert Faris, dropped the items.

On the recorded call, Riley can be heard talking to Faris.

"Go ahead to the front door, man because I don't want to shoot you," he said.

However, Riley didn't have a gun, but wanted to give the impression that he was ready to use one.

"I don't even own a weapon. I know how to use my hands. I'm over 50 years old. That's old school."

A fight wasn't needed. A short time later, police arrived and Joe took a picture as police arrested Faris.

He was charged with breaking and entering and possession of criminal tools.

"He admitted that he had been breaking in here for over 10 times," Riley said.

According to the police report, Faris broke through a back window and said he stole wires, brass valves and buckets of metal in order to scrap it for drug money.

Riley has owned the former factory building since 2008 and wants to transform it into a brewery and children's theater, but said multiple break-ins have been getting in the way of progress. He estimated 20 similar crimes over the past three years.

Riley said crooks have broken most of the windows, damaged vehicles inside the building and stolen transmissions, light fixtures, and wiring.

"If you're working that hard to steal from me, why don't you get a job? Come to the front door. Maybe I'll put you to work," Riley said.

Friday's incident wasn't the first time Riley has kept a watch on crooks until the cops showed up.

He said he convinced both juveniles and adults to hang around after he busted them during separate break-ins.

However, the owner said he's frustrated because the suspects got little punishment or only probation. He's concerned someone is going to get hurt if the crimes continue.

"They could have a gun. They could have a knife. They could have something to harm me," Riley said.