Guy Tries to Stop Robbery, Gets Charged With Felony

Jeff Steele reportedly threatened robber with Taser he had no permit for
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2015 2:55 AM CST
Guy Tries to Stop Robbery, Gets Charged With Felony
Former police Chief John Martin demonstrates a Taser in Brattleboro, Vt.,   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

A man who tried to stop a robbery in a Wisconsin bar has been charged with a felony because he wasn't supposed to be carrying the Taser he allegedly threatened the suspect with. According to WKBT-TV, Jeff Steele was at the King's Korner bar in La Crosse just before 2am last Monday morning when a masked woman came in, pointed a handgun at the bartender, and demanded money. Bartender Colleen Hogan says she saw Steele walking toward the woman with the Taser. She says he didn't appear to actually use it on the suspect, but the woman was apparently startled by the sight of it and took off. The suspect, a former employee of the bar, was arrested minutes later; Heidi Thompson, 24, has been charged with armed robbery, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

Steele was charged with possession of an electronic weapon because he didn't have a permit to carry the Taser. "You can have it in your home and on your private property without a concealed-carry permit, but you do need to keep a concealed-carry permit to carry it out in public," a police spokeswoman tells WKBT. Steele says he bought the stun gun because he lives in a rough neighborhood; he also says when he ordered it online, he was informed that it was legal in Wisconsin, so he assumed it was legal to carry it around. WKBT notes the district attorney's office will make the call as to whether to pursue the felony charge. (Read about more weird crimes from last week.)

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