Gas Station Employees Foil Robbery by Locking Suspect Inside

STOCKTON -- An attempted robbery at a Stockton gas station was foiled by the employees’ quick-thinking.

Police say they took a man into custody yesterday after he vandalized and tried to rob a Shell gas station.

Typically, when someone is trying to rob you, you want to lock them out of your business.

But in this case, the suspect was already inside so, the store clerks did the only thing they could think of – they ran outside and locked the suspect in.

When he heard the commotion, Lucky Mcgovern hurried out of his tattoo parlor, across the street to the Shell gas station.

“Just wondering what’s going to happen from here. Anything could happen,” said Mcgovern.

Police say 19-year-old Michael Martinez came into the Shell station just before noon — and started to vandalize the store.

The employees knew they had to do something.

“They became scared, ran outside and actually locked the man inside of the store,” Officer Joe Silva, Stockton Police Department.

Police hurried to the scene and set up a perimeter around the store as shown in cell phone video obtained by FOX40.

“We learned that the suspect went into the rafters,” said Silva.

Trying to escape through the roof, the suspect climbed into the ceiling — causing roughly $5,000 in damage.

Firefighters went onto the roof and talked Martinez into surrendering.

“Once we got him into custody we noticed that he stole the tip jar. So, he was arrested for robbery, felony vandalism and some other charges,” Silva said.

The suspect is in custody tonight and neighboring businesses are thankful for the employee’s quick-thinking.

“That was brave. That was really brave of them to lock them in there and come outside and hope for the best. That’s one more person off the street that’s causing damage out here,” said Mcgovern.