Police say shopper thwarted would-be armed robber

Posted at 5:33 PM, Feb 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-02 00:50:12-05

KEARNS, Utah - Police say a 39-year-old man thwarted a would-be robber at a Big Lots store on Thursday.

Unified Police say that just after the Big Lots store at 4019 West and 5415 South in Kearns opened on Thursday, a man identified as 19-year-old Romel Sosa-Medina grabbed the store's cashier by the throat, pulled out a knife and demanded money.

Monico Garza, 39, was in the store with his wife at the time. He says they heard a cashier yell for everyone to come to the front of the store and that they were being robbed.

"When we heard the female say come up to the front, she paused for a second and said 'We're being robbed,'" Garza said. "She said there was a knife to her neck at that point and he wanted her money."

Garza says that when he got to the front of the store, the thief took off running and Garza chased him. Garza caught up, throwing Sosa-Medina down in the parking lot and putting him in a headlock until police arrived.

"I didn't know if he was gonna come back and hurt her at a later time and I just wanted to see that he got caught and paid for what he did," Garza said. "I was upset and angry that he was doing that to this poor lady."

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal says Garza was able to take the knife out of the suspect's pocket and handed it to his wife while they waited for police to arrive.

Sosa-Medina is in the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery. Unified Police say they're grateful for Garza's assistance in capturing the suspect.

"Very great actions on the part of this citizen to chase this suspect down, tackle him and hold him for police so we could get him into custody," Hoyal said.

Jail records say Sosa-Medina is an illegal immigrant from Honduras and is on hold for immigration officers. If he's convicted, he could be deported.