Editor's note: The original story was edited for clarity.
An autistic Klamath Falls man has a pair of Chemult brothers to thank for recovering his car Wednesday that was stolen from in front of his downtown apartment building.
Brothers Robert and Steven Minich made a citizen’s arrest of John Cory Lissone, 49, who had shown up 80 miles away in Chemult parked in Steven’s driveway Wednesday morning.
“He just started throwing things out of the car,” said Steven Minich, 32. “I told (the suspect) he can’t leave that stuff in my yard, to take it away. He tried to get me to pay $10 for it. He was acting kind of squirrely.”
Steven called his brother, Robert Minich, 29, who runs the Minich Acres Ranch outside of Chemult.
“I went inside the house, called my brother, because this guy was refusing to leave. I took a picture of the car as he peeled out of my driveway and got a picture of the license plate.”
The brothers went through the pile of board games and other items in the yard and found a receipt with Glen Payne’s phone number on it.
“We figured he had just stolen these board games from someone’s garage and was trying to pawn them for gas money. There were all sorts of new board games, puzzles and collector’s cards. So we called the number.”
When Glen Payne of Chiloquin got the call, he realized his son’s 1999 Toyota RAV4 had been stolen, and told the brothers so. He then called his son, Aaron Payne of Klamath Falls.
“I’m disabled, but I like to attend the board game nights for adults held monthly at the Klamath County Library. That’s why I have the games in the car,” Aaron told the H&N. He said there was a hidden key to the car underneath it, which must have been how the car was taken.
Meanwhile, the Minich brothers called the sheriff’s office, which dispatched an officer, and decided to go looking for the suspect, Lissone.
“We knew he was either headed to the gas station or the rest area,” said Robert. “I normally would not get involved in this, but it wasn’t right that someone had taken this stuff. It was in brand new condition. I decided I’m not going to stand for this, not let him get away with it.”
Sure enough, the brothers found the suspect at the rest area. They told him to get out of the car, and held him for about 45 minutes until the sheriff’s deputy arrived. Lissone complied and didn’t resist arrest.
The brothers had taken phone pictures of the suspect in the car to use as evidence against him. Lissone is in the Klamath County jail in lieu of $10,000 bond.
“I just want to thank these boys for doing the right thing,” Glen Payne said.
“I really appreciate what they did,” Aaron Payne concurred. “I’m not a man of action, I don’t know what I would have done, but I really appreciate them.”
Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber praised the men’s work but advised that taking action on one’s own is not always the best thing to do.
“The law allows for a citizen’s arrest, but it is often best left to authorities,” Kaber said.