Despite the warning shots from a man trying to rob him, Jerad Kluting said he refused to give the perpetrator his Louis Vuitton bag.
The robbery attempt happened around 5 p.m. Monday as the victim walked along Riley Street west of US-31 in Holland Township. Authorities say would-be robber pulled a gun on Kluting, demanded the bag and fired at least three shots from a handgun.
Shortly after the incident, authorities pulled over the 21-year-old suspect and arrested him. Ottawa County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Bennett said the man had a stolen handgun with him in the car.
Police did not release the suspect’s name Tuesday because he has not been charged but Bennett said the young man had no known criminal history. A decision on charges in the case is expected to be made Wednesday.
"It happened very fast. In one motion he took the gun out of his waist belt and with the other hand put up a bandana over his mouth and pointed, was like, ‘Give me your bag,'” Kluting explained when he returned to the scene of the crime for an interview Tuesday. "I was like, ‘You’re not getting my Louis Vuitton.' I worked very hard for this and this bag I’ve had forever and it means a lot to me. I wasn’t about ready to relinquish it to some thug that was going to demand it from me.”
Kluding said he paid good money for the bag and said it's a design that's no longer in production.
"I paid $1,700 for it or thereabouts. … I love Louis Vuitton and I saw this bag long before I could buy it and I saved up my money to buy it,” Kluting said. "It means a lot to me. … It represents me. I wasn’t about to relinquish my personal property.”
To those who might think he’s crazy for not giving up the bag, Kluting had this to say: "As my grandmother would say, if you’re born to hang, you’ll never drown.”
Police encourage robbery victims to give up property when confronted to avoid escalating a situation.
Kluding said he believes the robber was trying to scare him when he fired the first two shots, but the third shot he believes was aimed to kill. He believes he’s lucky it missed.
In the end, he has no regrets about how he handled the situation. And he still proudly carries his bag — more special now than ever.
"I got my bag,” Kluting said. "He can pry it out of my cold dead hands."