LORAIN — Jim Allen Popiel, a longtime sports reporter for WOBL, is recovering at home after he was assaulted during a home invasion robbery early Thursday.
Police Lt. Ed Super said the break-in occurred about 2:45 a.m. at Popiel’s Regina Avenue home.
When police arrived, Popiel was bleeding from the bridge of his nose and said two people had robbed him of his wallet and cell phone, Super said.
Popiel told police that he heard a knock at his door about 2:30 a.m. but stayed in bed. A few minutes later, he heard movement inside his house. He grabbed his cell phone, which was off, and while waiting for it to turn on two men entered his room and grabbed his phone during a struggle, he told police.
One of the suspects asked Popiel where his money was kept and when Popiel didn’t answer, he was struck with a blunt object that Popiel told police may have been a gun, according to a police report.
Popiel told police the men searched several rooms in his house before leaving with his wallet and phone. A wad of money from the wallet was found near the front door, police said.
Super said Popiel was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center but he was released late Thursday and is now resting at home.
Lorain School Athletic Director Bryan Koury said there has been an incredible outpouring of support for Popiel in the community.
Popiel was a Spanish teacher at Admiral King Elementary School in Lorain and an avid fan of athletics in the district.
In fact, Koury posted on his Facebook page that Popiel was looking to be released from the hospital in time to make the freshman football game.
“The majority of people know him because of his support of the sport programs and because he never misses a game, home or away,” Koury said. “He’s always been a huge supporter of kids, elementary, junior high or high school.”
Lorain School spokeswoman Erin Gadd released a statement showing support for Popiel as well.
“It is with deep sadness that we learned of Mr. Popiel’s attack earlier today and we send our deep love and support to him as he recovers,” Gadd said. “Mr. Popiel is an amazing human being. His support of our scholars and athletes throughout the years has improved the lives of not only our youth, but our community at large. His big heart and personality are an inspiration to us all.”