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Off-Duty Deputy Thwarts Robbery At Store In Redlands

REDLANDS (CBSLA) – It was bad timing for a suspected thief inside a cell phone store in Redlands where an off-duty officer happened to be there to make the arrest.

Employees said it only took a couple of seconds for the man to snatch a cell phone from the store and run back outside. Before they realized what was happening, they said the deputy ran after the man and chased him through the parking lot.

When the display alarm sounded at a Sprint store, employees thought it was an honest accident. But they soon learned a man posing as a customer was tampering with the brand-new iPhone XS Max.

Unfortunately for the suspect, it was the absolute worst time to be ripping the store off.

"That's when the cop turned around, knew what was going on and he chased after him," employee Edgar Godina said.

The deputy was caught on camera holding the suspects at gunpoint on the ground. He just so happened to be at the store, shopping for a new iPhone.

Melissa Fernandez said she thought the person she was filming was just a good Samaritan with a gun, until he pulled out handcuffs.

"I just told him it was a good job. Good job, man" she said.

Police arrived moments later and arrested a 28-year-old man for grant theft and a 25-year-old woman for an outstanding warrant.

"He kind of knew it was over, so he was just saying he didn't do anything, that the girl didn't have anything to do with it," employee Charles Whitley said.

Godina and Whitley said theft has occurred at all the cell phones stores they've worked at, and it's frustrating when people get away with it.

"Even if we could, I'm just not gonna do it. It's not my responsibility to put my life in that kinda danger. But the fact that there was somebody there to be able to do something, I thought that was pretty cool," Godina said.

Witnesses said the deputy identified himself as law enforcement as he was chasing after the suspect.

The suspects have not yet been identified.


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