Prairie du Chien rallying around beaten restaurant owner - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Prairie du Chien rallying around beaten restaurant owner

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PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (KWWL) -

Three men face aggravated battery and burglary charges after they allegedly beat a local restaurant owner and burglarized his store.

Court documents say Jacob Erwin, Thomas Wilkins and Kellen Jeffords beat up Young Su Kim, owner of the Wasabi Restaurant in Prairie du Chien, and burglarized his store Oct. 21.

According to those court documents, investigators found a blaze orange shirt outside the restaurant with the name Railworks on it, which led them to the three men who were in town from Illinois working on a rail line.

The three men had dinner at the restaurant on Oct. 20, and went to a different bar in Prairie du Chien with Kim, according to those court documents.  They say they went back to Kim's restaurant, and that's when Erwin says that Wilkins punched Kim in the face, knocking him out.  They tried unsuccessfully to get into the front door with Kim's keys, so they broke out a side window, and opened the door from the inside, documents show.

Once inside, Erwin tells police that Jeffords kicked Kim in the face, and the three men damaged the restaurant and left with the cash register, which was eventually found in a cornfield behind a hotel across the street.

Court documents show that Kim was taken to the hospital with brain injuries, a collapsed lung and fractures in his face.

Kim's restaurant has remained closed ever since, and now people in Prairie du Chien are rallying to help Kim when he makes a recover.

That charge is being led by long-time patron and friend of Kim's, Kent Stark.

"(Kim) was always good to everybody that came in the restaurant, kids. You know, he always did everything above and beyond to make people feel comfortable. So I just had a hard time when people would do something like this to that man," Stark said.

He's started a GoFundMe page, which can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/kq7yfbfc.  He says they also plan to hold a benefit, once the learn what kind of support Kim will need when he gets out of the hospital.

"He doesn't have any blood family in the area, so nobody can really go up to see him in the ICU. So the only thing we could come up with was to raise some money for him. I personally have not seen this town come together like this my whole life. I'm very proud of the people in this community."

Stark says that Kim is no longer on the ventilator, and is responsive, but can't communicate.

In addition to raising money, Stark will also be holding a free self-defense class, after he says a number of people asked for some sort of training.

The class is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Suppz Gym in Prairie du Chien.  Stark says people are welcome at anytime during that period for as long or as little as they want.

Wilkins' will be in court again Wednesday, Nov. 4, while Erwin and Jeffords will make their next appearance Monday, Nov. 9.  If convicted, the aggravated burglary charges carry a prison sentence of up to 12.5 years, while the burglary charges carry a prison sentence of up to six years.

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