Major conviction for man running unlicensed security company

Published: Aug. 25, 2016 at 4:52 PM EDT
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The push to make sure you are safe around private security guards got a little bit stronger Thursday morning.

For the first time in Ohio, prosecutors got a felony conviction for someone running a security company without a license. It's an effort to make sure you're around people with the proper training.

You might hear felony conviction and think nothing of it but it could mean a year in jail for someone who could be putting your safety in jeopardy.

Franklin Harris pleaded no contest Thursday morning to one count of engaging in a security business without a license.

He’s connected to numerous incidents including a 2013 murder at the Lighthouse Bar on Broadway, a 2014 murder outside Chez Joey in downtown Toledo and a shooting this April where a man was critically injured outside an after-hours club on Matzinger road. State investigators say Franklin Harris was providing private security at all of these incidents.

“A lot of times there are shootings outside of these bars. He has his whole crew that he runs and they have badges. They have holstered guns. They appear to have some sort of authority which they don't," said Brooks Folwer, assistant Lucas County prosecutor.

Harris pleaded no contest Thursday morning to one count of engaging in a security business without a license.

"Mr. Harris thinks the state has some vendetta against him and that's not the case," said Fowler.

Investigators say they have warned Harris on numerous occasions to get his license, charged him with misdemeanor offenses, even sending him a cease and desist letter.

No one knows for sure if a license would have prevented any of the shootings or the other 2 times Harris ran a security detail when a fight broke out but prosecutors say the license gives people more of sense of security.

"Without the proper training, anyone could be wearing a badge with a firearm and if they're not licensed by the state unfortunately anything could happen," said Fowler.

If you find a place you think does not have licensed security, you can text a tip.

The Text-a-Tip line is 614-705-2TIP.