Fireworks tent operator holds break-in suspects at gunpoint

Updated: Friday, July 4 2014, 08:50 PM EDT
Fireworks tent operator holds break-in suspects at gunpoint story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A fireworks tent operator held two teenagers at gunpoint after stopping them from breaking in.

It happened at the corner of Lovers Lane and Cork Street in Kalamazoo.

Tent operator Derek Schwartz was first alerted to the 14 and 15-year-olds by his dog, and then by fireworks landing on his tent.

He believes his quick thinking stopped a potentially explosive situation.

"I heard footsteps across the street, and all of a sudden, explosives shot on the tent," Schwartz said.

Early Sunday morning, Schwartz says his fireworks tent in Kalamazoo was under attack by three teenagers.

Armed with a concealed pistol license, Schwartz grabbed his gun as the teenagers started sending the dangerous noise makers and explosives on top of his tent.

"Later, I found they had tried to shoot fireworks off onto a gas can and blow up my can that was sitting next to my car for my generator to operate, so a very dangerous situation," he said.

His dog Max first alerted him to the intruders, as Schwartz says he sleeps over there to avoid break-ins.

Detectives say they believe the teens were there to steal.

"I told them I have a gun," Schwartz said. "I stepped out of the tent and held them there until the cops came and arrested them."

So as the fireworks continue to go off Friday--also Schwartz's birthday--he can look back on what could have been, as he avoided a near disaster.

"My life was in danger; the fireworks could have gone up, it could have had the potential of a devastating fire because of the surrounding buildings," he said.

Police say the 14-year-old and 15-year-old were released to their parents.

Schwartz is deciding whether to press charges.
Fireworks tent operator holds break-in suspects at gunpoint
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