A man who owned a pawnshop and laundromat pulled his gun and confronted a pair of thieves attempting to break into a coin machine, triggering a wild turn of events that saw the business owner and another armed citizen holding the suspects and a third person at gunpoint until police arrived.

Three suspects are in custody Thursday night after two of them were stopped for allegedly trying to break into a coin machine at the Suds and Duds Laundromat.

Cedar City Police Sgt. Jimmy Roden said a man and woman had gone into the laundromat located in back of the Vault Pawn Shop at 200 North at approximately 4 p.m., when the owner, who was in the pawn shop watching a surveillance camera, witnessed what he believed to be the two suspects attempting to break into the coin machine using tools.

The owner went in back to the laundromat and allegedly brandished a firearm at the suspects, telling them to stop, Roden said. The male suspect then came at the owner and the owner fired his weapon into the wall, “reportedly as a warning shot,” Roden said in a news release.

Roden said the male suspect then overtook the owner and they began to fight.

“The brief altercation spilled outside of the business onto the sidewalk,” the news release said. “The suspect then disengaged with the business owner and he and the female, who had also been inside the store, then entered an SUV that was parked in the parking lot.”

A passerby witnessed the fight and stopped to help. The laundromat owner and the witness, who was also reportedly carrying a firearm, “held the suspects at gunpoint until police arrived,” Roden said.

There is the distinct possibility that the owner may end up facing charges, as well as the criminals.

As we’ve noted on multiple occasions before (including this morning), it is almost never legal to fire a warning shot. Firing a warning shot is an admission that you were not in immediate life-threatening danger, and will often be used against the gun owner if the prosecutor is anti-gun.

The passerby seems to have acted lawfully in every regard, though I’m curious as to how he determined good guy from bad guy.