Three people wanted in connection with an armed robbery at a gas station on Sunday night were located by police with the help of a witness, who followed the trio's getaway car from south Palo Alto to the north side of town, police said Monday.
The armed robbery at the Arco gas station at 699 San Antonio Road, not far from the city border with Mountain View, was reported around 8:40 p.m., according to the press release. Dispatchers were told a man entered the gas station's store, aimed a handgun at the cashier and demanded money.
The cashier, a man in his 40s, followed through with the order out of fear for his life, police said. After he opened the register, the alleged robber took an undisclosed amount of money, fled out of the store and entered the car.
The cashier was not injured during the robbery, according to police.
A witness who went inside the gas station store moments after the robbery learned about the theft and quickly left in search of the trio. She located a vehicle that matched the provided getaway car description leaving the gas station and called 911, the press release states.
She followed the trio while giving updates to dispatchers on their location, according to police. Officers stopped the getaway vehicle in the area of Alma Street and Palo Alto Avenue, not far from El Camino Park, and arrested three adults without incident.
The three alleged robbers were found with stolen cash in the car, plus drugs and drug paraphernalia in one of their bags. Officers also retrieved an unsecured handgun that was loaded and within reaching distance of an elementary school-aged child who was sitting next to a teenager, according to the press release. The firearm, stolen out of Salinas, was on the vehicle's rear floorboard.
The child was released to relatives with assistance from the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services and the teen was brought to a youth shelter, police said.
Officers arrested a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, both from Salinas, who allegedly took turns driving the getaway vehicle away from the gas station. They also took into custody a 19-year-old Los Banos man, who officers suspect carried the weapon. In addition, they were each arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and child endangerment.
The two men were also arrested for alleged possession of a stolen firearm, which is a felony, police said. The woman is also suspected of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine, both misdemeanors.
Anyone with information about Sunday's armed robbery is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.
Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.