A Texas car dealer, nicknamed "The Finnisher" for his Finnish ancestry and heroic exploits apprehending a robber in his Bellaire neighborhood, has been arrested on nine felony charges related to sexual assault involving two teenage girls, Automotive News reports.
Riku Melartin was made famous after he responded to a neighbor's screams by running out of his house in his boxers with a .50-caliber pistol, firing a shot into the ground and apprehending the robber. John Keating Chevrolet, a dealership owned by his wife where he allegedly worked, made commercials featuring Melartin as "The Finnisher" to boost sales. But since becoming a hero from that neighborhood incident, a more sinister story has been brewing below the surface.
Melartin allegedly gave a 16-year-old who worked as a receptionist at the dealership an energy drink spiked with alcohol before he and a coworker, George Koutani, led her up to an office and paid her $200 to take off her clothes. Melartin is accused of exposing himself to the girl on that occasion. He also reportedly is accused of paying the girl to let him touch her and to have intercourse with her. That teenager and another have accused Melartin and Koutani of sexual assault.
Since the accusations, Melartin's story - that he once was a discus thrower for the Finnish Olympic team, that he worked for the Chevrolet dealership, that he was married to the dealership's owner, Tina Jou - has come into question.
A spokesperson for the Finnish Olympic Committee told Automotive News that "no person named Riku Melartin has ever represented Finland in the Olympic games." He denies having worked for the Chevy dealership despite a civil suit by one of the victim's parents (who both worked at the dealership) being brought against him and describing him as the general manager. He even has denied that he was married to Jou, instead saying he was married to another woman. Public records show he divorced the latter in 1997, and a Nevada marriage certificate shows that he married Jou in Las Vegas in 2002.
Head below to watch a video by Automotive News about Melartin and to see one of the Chevy dealership's The Finnisher commercials.