Sterling man, 35, charged with detaining, threatening to shoot five teen boys

Zachary Rivera in August 2023

MORRISON – A Sterling man accused of holding and threatening to shoot five teenage boys, and of smacking one of them in the face, is free on bond, charged with felony unlawful restraint and misdemeanor battery.

Zachary J. Rivera, 35, formerly of Rock Falls was arrested Sept. 1 at his home after an investigation by the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department.

According to a news release from lead investigator sheriff’s detective Michael Leighton and to court documents, Rivera held the five boys in the 1000 block of Susan Court in Sterling for about 30 minutes on Aug. 4. All of them were 14 at the time but one, who turned 15 the day before. One since has turned 15.

According to Whiteside County property records, Rivera owns a home in that block on Susan Court.

He had three of the boys put their hands over their heads, told one of the boys to put his face on the ground, and told the boy he hit that he’d cut him up if he tried to flee, all while threatening to shoot each of them, according to court records.

Information on whether Rivera actually had a gun was not part of the record or included in the release.

Rivera, who has no criminal history in Whiteside or Lee counties, posted $5,000 of his $50,000 bond and was freed on Sept. 1. His first appearance is Monday in Whiteside County Court.

Unlawful restraint carries one to four years in prison.

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.