NEWS

Shopkeeper charged with assaulting jewelry thief

07/31/2012 02:29 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT
The owner of a jewelry store in downtown St. John's has been charged with assault after he chased a man who fled his store with a ring and bracelet.

John Dwyer, owner of Timeco on Water Street, said he was too upset to be interviewed on camera, but that he felt like a criminal when he wound up handcuffed and in a police cruiser after he chased the man from his store on Friday afternoon.

Security video recorded by Timeco's surveillance system shows the suspect lingering in the store, glancing at merchandise and letting another customer be served before him.

The video then shows the man asking Dwyer to try on a ring, and then a bracelet to go with it.

As soon as he had the bracelet, the man made a run for the nearby door, but Dwyer had already hit the automatic lock.

In seconds, the man kicked the glass out of the door and made his escape.

Dwyer and two employees gave chase, and stopped the man around the corner on George Street. But while they tried to get the jewelry from him, Dwyer said, the man resisted and won support from people watching the scene from a nearby deck.

Told by bystanders to leave the man alone, Dwyer lost his cool and kicked the man in the face.

The robbery suspect, 35, was locked up for the weekend on a charge of attempted robbery with violence.

Dwyer, 65, has been ordered to appear in provincial court later this month on a charge of assault.

While he has reopened his store and recovered his merchandise, Dwyer told CBC News he feels that he is the victim and should not have been charged.

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