Business Owners Serious About Protecting Property

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Imagine working late at night by yourself when someone breaks into your business. It's happened twice here in Reno to two different business owners over the last two nights.

Fortunately, Jim Bell was able to chase off the would-be burglars and no one got hurt.

The owner of Wild Sierra Adventures says he was working late Tuesday night when someone threw a rock through the front window of his business.

Bell says it was then that his instincts just took over.

Bell is cleaning up what's left of his business's front window. He's also putting in rebar over his new plexiglass window to keep burglars out.

Bell says he was by himself in his back office when, just after 4 a.m. the would-be burglars broke out the window with a rock. "I either could just stay there and wait for these guys to come out, or just charge at them, which is what I did," he said.

Bell was unarmed but he was able to chase the two men away.

Bell's story is exactly the situation that Ernie Sommer wants to avoid. Sommer owns Harry's Watering Hole on Plumas.

He says, during a rash of sports bar burglaries several weeks ago. He was actually sleeping in a back room of his bar. But Sommer has taken other precautions as well to protect his business.

Several years ago he installed a 24-hour surveillance system that's broadcast over the internet. "People talk about it, they like to see themselves on the monitor, it was a joke but it actually came in handy,” Sommer said.

Sommer says, as a business owner, he's got to do what he can to protect his bar, including posting signs on his back door for possible thieves.

The note reads: "I will use any means to defend myself and my property, and I literally mean "any."

But Reno police say, to what degree you can lawfully protect yourself, depends on the situation.

"The law says if you feel your life is in danger, or someone else's life is in danger, you can protect yourself," says Lt. Ron Holladay.

But, cops do say, the best thing to do in a break-in situation is to avoid confrontation with thieves at all costs.