Two would-be burglars are accusing a bicycle shop owner and two others of torturing the suspects after their heist was foiled by the armed store owner, reports WFTV.
Jose Gonzalez, 27, and Michael Eller, 28, told Orange County deputies that after they broke into a bike shop early Sunday morning they were confronted by Robert Antley, the owner of the store.
Antley held the men at gunpoint. Apparently, he was anticipating a possible break-in as he had slept at the shop that night. His store had been burglarized several times in the past. However, this time he wasn’t going to let the crooks get away scot-free.
Instead of calling 911 to report the break-in, Antley allegedly made the two men strip down to their underwear and face a wall. He reportedly jabbed the gun into the suspects’ sides and threatened to kill them. Then, he beat the men for over an hour, according to the police report.
After an hour, Antley’s brother Joshua showed up along with his girlfriend Kathryn Pellicio.
Instead of calling the police, the group led Eller and Gonzalez into a bathroom in the back of the store where the two burglars were tortured, once again, for an hour.
Antley told deputies that he would have called the police sooner but his cellphone died and the burglars had cut the wires for the phone at the shop.
Antley also said that he called 911 when his brother arrived, but police said they were not able to verify his version of the events.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer addressed the situation, noting that Antley had a right to defend his property but indicated that torturing goes beyond what one would consider reasonable use of force.
“You are allowed to engage in conduct that is reasonable, necessary and lawful to protect yourself or your property, but one may argue that these efforts were neither reasonable nor lawful,” Sheaffer said.