Bellaire homeowner who thwarted armed robber finds new spotlight


Lisa Chavarria, KHOU 11 News

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 11:15 AM

HOUSTON—Two months ago Ric Melartin lived in obscurity—that was before he caught a burglar in his Bellaire neighborhood and was catapulted into the media spotlight.

Now the blonde former Olympian from Finland is capitalizing on his newfound fame and his new nickname “The Finnisher.”

Melartin is in television commercials advertising for his dealership John Keating Chevrolet in Crosby.

“I believe that the customer needs to get the best price. So me being the Finnisher and being given this nickname by the radio gods, I figured, what do I do best? I want to give the best deal to the customer. I want to finish high prices,” he said.

Melartin was first known as the Bellaire homeowner who turned the tables on an armed driveway robber. Melartin got his own gun, a bigger gun, and caught the man who held up his neighbor.

“I’m no hero, I’m just an everyday ordinary businessman who feels I did the right thing at the moment,” he said.

Now he’s letting more people in to his back story with a YouTube video. Melartin grew up just north of the Arctic Circle in Finland from a lineage of reindeer herders and biters.

“It’s an act that requires a lot of toughness. You have to grab the reindeer through his hind sights and literally bite the testicles off. So that takes a lot of toughness,” Melatin said.

His family wasn’t surprised when he stepped in to help his neighbors. They said it’s in his blood.

“So I figured, having been able to catch reindeer throughout my small and young adulthood, I would certainly catch this guy when he was running away from me. Even if I had to just grab him from his hind legs and bite him,” he said.

Now—instead of fighting crime—for the moment, he’s fighting high prices.

“I think the fact that I’m the Finnisher and people recognize that I do good deeds, then maybe they’ll recognize that I’m willing to help them get a good car deal,” he said.