An absolutely bizarre rise and fall of a Texas car salesman who gained local notoriety by chasing down a criminal in his subdivision, spinning a yarn about being a top Olympic athlete in his home country of Finland and apparently screwing his boss ends with charges of sexual assault against two teen girls.
Nick Bunkley at Automotive News has the story of Riku "Rik" Melartin, who's known outside Houston as "The Finnisher" after he chased down a burglar while wearing only his underwear. The Chevy dealership he worked for — and the definition of "working for" is unclear, as you'll see later — played off the salesman's sudden rise to fame and styled him as a Schwarzenegger selling Sonics in TV ads.
"I fired a warning shot, out of my friendly dancing partner, into the ground," he told local TV station KHOU-TV. "He turned around, he put his hands in the air and said, 'Please don't shoot! Please don't shoot!' At which time, with one hand I grabbed him by the throat, put him down to the ground. I frisked him and I said, 'All right, I'm sorry, your nightly escapade is over.'"
Melartin, who's six-foot-four and totes a gun in the commercials (Texas!), earned his nickname after boasting to local news outlets that he was an Olympic discus thrower in his native Finland. Or a volleyball player. Or both. He also said he castrated reindeer with his bare teeth.
The Finnish Olympic Committee found no record of Melartin competing anywhere, but that lie is the least of his worries. Married, divorced and remarried to John Keating Chevrolet's owner, Tina Jou (one exchange of vows took place while skydiving over Las Vegas, apparently), Melartin now faces charges of spiking a 16-year-old female employee's energy drink after hours and paying to have sex with her, as well as assaulting another underage girl with another employee at the dealer.
Despite clearly appearing in ads and clearly telling people he sells cars for the dealership (and, of course, actually selling cars to paying customers), Melartin says he was never employed by the dealer and was just a paid spokesman. Meanwhile, the dealer itself is in chaos, with numerous consumer complaints, a lack of managerial skill from Jou (who bought the dealer from family ownership with Melartin) and the media circus around Melartin's charges.
Unrelated but sort of related, Melartin, 52, is also charged with operating an illegal strip club. And he's also licensed to practice medicine and a licensed stockbroker. And he also owned a separate used-car dealership.