BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – An apparent commercial burglary, interrupted in progress by the business owner, has taken an odd turn, with the alleged victim, the owner and two of his sons in court facing felony charges themselves and the admitted burglar apologizing to them.
If you’ve ever been ripped off, you probably know the feeling – you feel violated, vulnerable, helpless – you might even feel vengeful. John Sparks, owner of Sparks Custom Pools in Bakersfield, can be excused for perhaps feeling some of those emotions when security video caught an alleged, pre-dawn burglar at his business last month, apparently in the act. Can Sparks be excused for what happened next? That could be up to a Kern County jury.
Sparks and two sons were in court Monday for their arraignment on several charges including assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and kidnapping. The deadly weapons – according to the charging document – included a gun, a car and a power tool.
The strange tale began at 3 a.m. the morning of April 27 when John Sparks, awakened by his security system, raced to his business on Meany Avenue and confronted Scott Sparks, no relation, who had entered the pool company’s fenced yard and was taking items from an unlocked vehicle. Scott Sparks, the alleged burglar, describes what happened next.
“I come out and he got a gun and he shot right above my head and he said, Get down, get down,” he said. “So I got down on my belly and let him hog-tie me.”
After zip-tying the suspect’s hands behind his back, John Sparks summoned his sons, Brenden and Trenton.
For some 45 minutes, according to the Sheriff’s report, John Sparks and his sons punched and kicked the suspect, then put him in their truck bed, drove him to another location and called the Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies found Scott Sparks with his hands zip-tied behind his back and significant injuries to his head and face.
“I know I was wrong for that, I’m sorry,” he said. “I know I could have deserved a little bit of an ass-kicking but they took it a little bit extreme, I think.”
Pool company owner John Sparks declined to speak on camera but he said off-camera that video of the incident from security footage would shed light on the incident.
Scott Sparks said he was attempting to steal two cordless drills but he was not attacked or threatened with those power tools.
The Sheriff’s Department eventually obtained arrest warrants for John, Brenden and Trenton Sparks, and they turned themselves in on May 3.
District Attorney Cythnia Zimmer said the pool company owner and his sons could face prison time.
“The maximum penalty looks to be around seven years in state prison,” Zimmer said. “The false imprisonment (charge) carries three or four (years), depending, and then three years with an enhancement because the victim was severely injured.”
The Sheriff’s Department said it will seek petty theft and trespassing charges against Scott Sparks, but as of Tuesday he had not been charged.
Scott Sparks said he came out of this a better person.
“Sorry about the whole situation,” he said, “but (John Sparks) taught me a life lesson, so I can thank him for that, you know?”
John, Brenden and Trenton Sparks are due back in court June 22. John Sparks referred KGET to his attorney, Ed Noriega, and we did reach out to him, but we had not heard back by 5 p.m.