Society

Chicago Restaurant Owner Chases Down Phone Thief, Knocks Him Unconscious

| by Jonathan Wolfe

An iPhone thief in Chicago recently found out the hard way that it’s a bad idea to rob a restaurant that has a martial arts expert and former bouncer as its owner.

The thief, identified as 37-year-old Justin Ballog, walked into Chicago restaurant Juno last Thursday in hopes of stealing a patron’s phone. Ballog put his jacket on the counter and asked the bartender for a pen and a piece of paper. Moments later, he quickly grabbed his jacket and left.

The restaurants co-owner, Jason Chan, noticed Ballog looking suspicious before he left the restaurant. Chan asked a customer who was next Ballog if he had his phone. The customer checked his pockets and realized Ballog had stolen his phone.

Immediately, Chan ran out the door to track down the thief. He hopped in his car and drove several blocks before spotting Ballog walking into another restaurant. Chan got out of his car and confronted Ballog inside the restaurant, where Ballog was about to steal another phone using the same technique he just had at Chan’s restaurant.

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“We engaged with each other, and he tried to push me out of the way and run out,” Chan said. “I grabbed him and threw him into the door.”

Witnesses called police as Chan and Ballog fought on the sidewalk.

“He was adversarial, [so I used] hand-to-hand combat techniques to make sure he was unconscious,” Chan said. “I put him in a maneuver called an arm bar and told him I would break his arm if he tried to get away.”

Ballog continued to struggle, so Chan knocked him out with a kick to the face. Chan held him on the ground for several minutes until police arrived at the scene.

To show his appreciation, theft victim Gary Wolske sent Chan a 12-year-old bottle of single-malt Glenlivet scotch.

“He’s like the modern-day John Wayne, or Bruce Lee,” Wolske said. “He takes it to heart: What’s right is right.”

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, Gawker