SALT LAKE CITY – Police say an alert employee may have prevented a robbery at a dollar store and helped police catch an armed suspect.
An employee at a Dollar Tree located at 812 E. 200 South was working Tuesday night when they saw a man who they recognized as a person who had robbed the store at gunpoint recently.
"The clerk there had recognized this individual as being a suspect in a robbery back in May,” said Det. Cody Lougy of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Police were able to respond quickly, and when they arrived the suspect was waiting in line, allegedly posing as a customer before carrying out an armed robbery. Lougy said when Munetadhir Al-Aetiaj allegedly robbed the dollar store on May 6 he had a gun, so officers approached with caution.
"They realized; 'Hey, this guy is probably carrying a handgun.’" Lougy said. “So when they made contact with him, the fight was on, and they called for additional units, and they were eventually able to take him into custody--and in fact he did have a firearm, a stolen firearm, in his possession."
Police said they found items in the man's possession that they believe indicates the man intended to rob the store.
"This individual had a mask in his pocket, had a plastic bag he was going to use to put the money in, had gloves, and of course had that stolen firearm in his possession as well,” Lougy said.
Al-Aetiaj was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on 1 felony count of a weapon violation by a restricted person, one felony count of aggravated robbery and one misdemeanor count of interfering with an arresting officer, according to a statement of probable cause from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.