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Two unlucky burglars got way more than they bargained for when they broke into the Gas bike shop in Orange County, Florida last week. The pair of burglars found the shop's owner lying in wait, gun in hand, and it only got crazier from there.
The bike shop owner had a few prior break-ins and was justifiably paranoid that it would happen again. As a preventative measure, he began sleeping in his store, with a gun. When the burglars broke in, he allegedly held the two men at gun point, forced them to strip down to their underwear, then marched them into the bathroom where he beat them, while still holding them at gun point. The shopkeeper did not call the police until some time had elapsed and his brother and brother's girlfriend arrived at the store.
When the police arrived, they were confronted with an odd situation. Undressed burglars being held at gunpoint is unlikely something that gets taught at the academy. However, as you probably already suspected, the bike shop owner's actions were illegal. Officers arrested not only the burglars, but also the shop owner and the owner's brother, and the brother's girlfriend.
While the owner could have held the burglars at gun point while waiting for the police to arrive, by making them strip, he went too far. Then, when he beat them, he went beyond too far. While Florida law does allow a shopkeeper, or homeowner, to defend themselves, there are limitations, and beating someone at gun point, who isn't resisting detention (citizen's arrest), is just simply illegal (Note: state laws vary on how far a shopkeeper or homeowner can go in defending their property).
To put things in perspective, it is likely that the shopkeeper will face more serious charges than the burglars. Property crimes, such as breaking and entering, as well as burglary, are generally not as serious as crimes against a person, such as assault, battery, rape, and murder. While the would-be burglars may face charges for breaking in, and maybe even attempted burglary charges, the shopkeeper could be facing assault and battery with a deadly weapon, torture, sexual battery, and other charges.
The brother of the shopkeeper and his girlfriend can be charged as accomplices, or more, depending on their roles, which is unclear at this time. Convictions for accomplice liability can be just as severe as the charges the burglars face.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.