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Gun store owner says his ‘restraint’ is the only reason suspects are alive

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:52 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2020 at 3:49 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Two people accused of breaking into a gun store Sunday night did likely not expect to find the owner at the property.

Investigators said around 11 p.m. Sunday night deputies responded Zingers and Flingers in Stettin for the report of a burglary in progress with “shots being fired.”

During an interview with authorities, cited in court documents, the owner explained he didn’t have time to put the long guns in a safe after closing so he decided to sleep at the business. That’s when he said he heard a crash. He thought it was wind damage, but when he heard a second crash he grabbed a loaded gun and hid behind a sales counter.

The owner said he fired 3-4 warning shots after seeing two men in the business. One person took off running, the other put his hands up. The owner then triggered the business' silent alarm. He told investigators he wasn’t sure if the alarm triggered so he went to open a door to sound another alarm. That’s when he lost sight of the suspect. He said he feared the suspects would regroup and try to harm him, so he barricaded himself in a room until law enforcement arrived.

Authorities say Issac Tomek, 20, and Brock Rhode broke into the business by smashing out windows. Tomek was located a short distance away on foot and was arrested.

Rachel Hoeppner, 21, was found nearby driving a getaway vehicle and was also arrested.

Both Hoeppner and Tomek appeared in court Tuesday. The owner, Matt Wasmundt had a chance to address the judge.

“This was a violent attack. I don’t know if you’ve read the details…. On me and my business. My restraint is the reason these people are still around,” he said.

No injuries were reported.

Rhode remains at large. He’s described as male/white, 5′9″, 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and a black mask with neon green on it. Rhode is asked to turn himself into the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. He is to be considered dangerous, and may be armed.

Both Hoeppner and Tomek are behind bars on $5,000 cash bond. They’re expected to learn if their cases will head to trial on Nov. 25.

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