Lorain radio legend pistol-whipped in home invasion

LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - One week ago Jim Allen Popiel, 76, heard a slight knock on his front door.

He didn't think much of it and went back to sleep.

About ten minutes later he awoke to two men in his dark bedroom.

He reached for his cell phone to call 9-1-1.

That's when things turned ugly.

"They pointed what appeared to be a gun and I'm sure it was right in this area. In which case they struck the upper part of my nose and also got a black eye out of it," said Popiel.

It was a frightening ordeal for Popiel, who has been announcing high school sports in Lorain County since 1960.

"In the process of dialing 9-1-1 two of the intruders had gotten into my bedroom. The first one snatched the phone from me so I could not complete the call," he said.

They demanded money and started ransacking the house in search of cash and property.

"But there was a third individual involved and in looking through the various rooms of the house for things to take, mainly money, and the alarm went off and when they heard the alarm go off that got them to run out of the house."

"I do not feel insecure, but truthfully, it's hard to fall asleep sometimes."

Word spread of what happened to Mr. Popiel.

That's when handwritten letters starting pouring in.

"'Dear Mr. Popiel, I'm very sorry for what happened to you. I hope the police find whoever did this to you,'" said Popiel as he read the letter.

The outpouring of well wishes have been overwhelming.

Kids from the General Johnnie E. Wilson Middle School sent him cards and parishioners from his church have sent flowers and fruit baskets and cards too.

Like many legends he has received many awards and plaques for his decades of work.

Now, it's his turn to thank those who came to his support.

"Just a great, big thank you for everyone who wished me good health and saying prayers and so forth."

The three males who broke into his Lorain home have not been arrested yet and they still have his phone, but Popiel says he's OK and he continues to do his high school sports broadcast just like he has done since 1960.

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