Woman Grabs Tip Jar, Threatens Vacaville Restaurant Staff With Knife

VACAVILLE -- Quick thinking from a few staff members at a Vacaville restaurant helped put one woman behind bars Saturday.

By Sunday, it was business as usual behind the counters at California Burrito.

Maria Torres Marquez had just left work Saturday when a family member told her something was happening inside the restaurant.

“She’s like, ‘Oh, did you see what happened at your job?' I was like, 'What happened?' She was like, 'There was somebody that went in to steal,’” Marquez recalled.

The story didn’t just end there. Police say around 7:30 p.m., a Vacaville woman identified as 36-year-old Lorraine Cantrell came into the restaurant and swiped a tip jar from the counter.

Police say Cantrell then pulled out a knife, demanding food from employees.

Workers were able to discretely dial 911 for help while keeping the suspect calm enough to put down the weapon, which Marquez said they are trained to do.

“Our protocol here is either when they come in we ask them nicely to leave,” she told FOX40. “Like she did threat one of the coworkers and, I mean, we would do the right thing and call the cops.”

Once police arrived, they said the suspect tried to escape through an emergency exit but was later taken into custody.

FOX40 reached out to Cantrell's brother who said it was not her first run-in with the law. He issued a statement, saying in part, "I am thankful no one was hurt in this incident. I will say, my sister may act out due to some mentally controlling choices she has made, but she wouldn’t hurt a fly."

While Marquez said she is thankful no one was injured, she’s also grateful that her coworkers and the officers were able to prevent more harm from being done.

“We really want to thank them because if it wasn’t for them, we would have been, either one of the coworkers would have been hurt or it would have gone really bad for us,” she said.

Cantrell is currently being held in the Solano County Jail. She faces several charges, including violating her probation, robbery and possession of a controlled substance.

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