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July 5, 2015

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Victim interrupts theft, finds thief left behind cellphone, pickup truck and girlfriend


Christopher DeVargas

George Harris, co-owner of Mundo, Thursday Oct. 11, 2012.

Sun coverage

A Republican activist who owns a tequila distillery and a downtown restaurant believes he might have two new candidates for America’s Dumbest Criminals.

As they fled on foot, a man and woman who stripped a stereo from the truck of George Harris left their cellphones, a purse and pickup truck with personalized license plates.

Harris, who owns downtown’s Mundo restaurant and Alien Tequila, said the two worked on his truck outside his southwest-side office as he napped early Sunday. When Harris came out to greet them with a 9 mm Glock, they ran away.

“I had the drop on them,” said Harris, a former Clark County GOP chairman who also ran for mayor of Las Vegas in 2011.

When Metro officers arrived, they were all smiles, Harris said.

“Might be the easiest case they’ve ever had,” he said.

Harris was at his office, in a warehouse area south of Tropicana Avenue and east of Interstate 15, doing paperwork for a new shipment of his Alien Tequila. Around 1:30 a.m., he decided to take a nap before driving home.

Noise outside awoke him, so he grabbed his pistol. He saw a vehicle parked next to his truck and a man in the driver’s seat of his truck.

“If you move a muscle, I’ll shoot,” Harris recalled saying to the man.

The man, who had already removed Harris’ stereo, froze for a minute, then ran into the night.

As he fled, the man yelled back desperately for someone else to drive off in the man’s pickup. Harris hadn’t even known someone else was there. Then he spotted a woman in the other vehicle and lowered his weapon at her. She, too, ran into the night.

Why didn’t Harris shoot?

"I didn't feel threatened," he said. If I had felt threatened, I would have shot and killed them."

Harris said the man had no weapon. Police got the call at 3:44 a.m. Harris said they told him if he had shot someone, he probably would have gone to jail.

"It's just not worth it,” Harris said in retrospect.

He said he did, however, exact some satisfaction in the thief's reaction.

“I’m 99 percent sure he wet his pants,” Harris said.

Harris also chuckled about what the thief might face from his date.

“If this was the guy’s girlfriend, I guess he’ll have some explaining to do,” about why he ran off without her, Harris said.

Maybe they’ll be able to talk about it while being booked into jail, Harris said. Police, he added, have a pretty good idea who the two are from all the evidence left at the scene, including the woman’s purse and two cellphones.

Harris said the vehicle break-in did almost $3,000 damage to his truck.

As of Tuesday, Harris said, no arrests had been made. Metro said the caper was still under investigation.

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  1. Excellent work, Mr. Harris!

  2. It's been 2 days since the crime...why hasn't anyone been arrested yet? Seems to me they should have at least one of them locked up by now.

  3. The perps might as well turn themselves in......

  4. Chunky says:

    Well done Mr. Harris! You exhibited a prudent and properly measured use of your firearm! Glad you had it and didn't have to use it!

    Imagine a world where law abiding citizens were not allowed to own and carry firearms. The headline of this story could have been "Local Businessman Found Dead After Interrupting Apparent Vehicle Burglary Attempt: Police Seek Information To Help Solve Crime"

    That's what Chunky thinks!!

  5. To Antigov: None of the above. Mr. Harris has lived here all his life and has been known for decades for his politics and political activism. His background is a way to help readers identify him, as is his ownership of Mundo and Alien Tequila. Thanks.

  6. Why does this story begin with the words, "A republican activist................."?

  7. theres still a market for stolen car stereos?

  8. So brandishing a gun when being robbed will
    A - not stop the robbery
    B - not get the thief caught
    C - put you in danger of metro errantly shooting you

    Let's hope this guys insurance covers the damage. And tbh, the vehicle left may not belong to the two people using it. Also, the purse may not have anything relevant in it, and the phones are probably prepaid. The only people desperate enough to steal a car stereo are usually on drugs...good luck finding these two low lifes

  9. Contrary to AshleyAshley's uninformed comment, a gun can stop a crime in progress. While making a cash drop at my credit union one evening I noticed a car parked with lights off backed into a space at the end of the parking lot, behind the teller. I noticed this same car once more before the incident. The night of the attempted robbery I noticed the same car as I drove past to the automated teller drop and as usual pulled my truck within inches of the safety poles intended to protect it to prevent anyone from getting between me and the window on the drivers side. Keeping an eye on the rear view mirror as I lowered the window I noticed two men exit each side of the parked car and walk toward my truck from behind, one on each side. I had left the engine and lights on with the doors locked of course ,but in park. I put the window up and turned on the interior overhead lights to insure they could see me clearly. They kept coming so I drew my 1911 .45, pointing it straight up with the side toward them to insure they could see it while I dialed 911 on my cell phone. They apparently saw the gun, immediately turned, got in their car and quickly drove away.

    The highway patrol picked them up about a half an hour later. One had a handgun, burglary tools and both had rap sheets. Both were convicted on several charges.

    Awareness, training and prudent use as another poster mentioned is the key and understanding that unthinking knee jerk reactions put both the victim and everyone else in jeopardy.

    I carry in condition 1 and stay in code yellow (Cooper color codes). On the evening in question I mentally went from yellow to orange to red as the situation progressed. That training, awareness, readiness and most of all willingness allowed me to avoid a confrontation. The gentlemen in the article came upon a crime in progress and used proper judgment to avoid a confrontation. There was no failure here except that of the criminals and those who lack understanding.

  10. BRASS - while you may feel like James Bond in a movie for having been successful, what if you weren't? I wouldn't advocate people go around brandishing guns when the scum of Vegas knocks on their door - or trigger happy metro.

  11. I applaud BRASS and George Harris from the article above. I have a ccw permit and will act in anyway necessary to protect myself, my family and my property.

  12. LMAO @Ashley're wrong...these people are guilty and are lucky this guy didn't blast them. I would have. Blast first, questions later. We need to rid this world of trash one scumbag at a time.