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Chicago restaurant owner punches out iPhone thief

“He’s like the modern-day John Wayne, or Bruce Lee ... He takes it to heart: What’s right is right,” says customer who got his phone back.
By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   Nov. 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM
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(UPI) -- A man who allegedly tried to steal an iPhone from a customer at Jason Chan’s restaurant in Chicago found out that he is just as capable of serving up black eyes as food.

Chan noticed a man, later identified as Justin Ballog, acting suspiciously in Juno, the restaurant he co-owns. After the man abruptly left the restaurant, Chan asked regular customer Gary Wolske if he had his phone. Sure enough, his iPhone 5 was missing.

Wolske went to file a police report but Chan went to get the phone back.

“I have a protective nature, I guess,” Chan said.

He spotted Ballog going into Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and confronted him.

“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.”

“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.”

The man kept fighting back and Chan, who has practiced and taught the martial art of Shidokan for 19 years, knocked him out with a kick to the face.

When police arrived a few minutes later, Ballog, 37, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor theft.

Wolke sent Chan a bottle of 12-year-old, single-malt Glenlivet scotch to say thank you.

“It does send a message: This tough guy, Jason, and his neighbors are not going to allow this,” Wolske said. “He’s like the modern-day John Wayne, or Bruce Lee. ... He takes it to heart: What’s right is right.”

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