Man charged with felony after trying to stop armed robbery

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LA CROSSE, Wis. – A Wisconsin man is being charged with a felony after he tried to stop an armed robbery at a local bar.

“I didn’t think I did anything wrong by any means,” said Jeff Steele.

Steele has lived in the neighborhood surrounding King’s Korner Bar for about 40 years.

“It’s not really the nicest neighborhood we live in,” he said.

“I was in the cooler right over here and when I stood up, she was standing in the middle of the bar with a small handgun pointed at me,” said Colleen Hogan.

“I seen Colleen having to pull money out of the till. I looked over and seen the mask and somebody with a gun,” said Steele.

Authorities say 24-year-old Heidi Thompson was the woman underneath that mask, who was set on robbing the bar.

“She said, ‘Okay guys, put your hand on your head and give me all the money, all the 20s,” Hogan remembers.

Hogan says when she turned around with money from the register, she saw Jeff Steele walking toward Thompson with his taser.

“I don’t think he made contact because I could see it sparking, but he definitely startled her,” Hogan said.

Thompson ran from the bar and was arrested minutes later by La Crosse police officers.

However, she isn’t the only one with charges following the crime.

Steele is being charged with felony possession of an electronic weapon.

Authorities say he was carrying the taser without a concealed carry permit.

“You can have it in your home and on your private property without a concealed carry permit, but you do need to keep a concealed carry permit to carry it out in public,” said Lisa Barrix, with the La Crosse Police Department.

“When I bought it off the Internet, it said basically that it’s legal to have in the state of Wisconsin, but didn’t go into any depth on it. So, I assumed that it was legal to carry around. Otherwise, why would you buy one to leave it at home? How is it for defense then?” Steele said.

The police department says since Steele tried to help, they did not immediately take him to jail.

It is now up to the district attorney’s office to decide whether to pursue the felony charge against him.

The woman who attempted to rob the bar is being held on a $10,000 bond.

She is facing charges of armed robbery and disorderly conduct.

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