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Burglary suspect in custody after being temporarily trapped in garage

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-25 23:41:19-04

PROVO, Utah -- Police said 26-year-old Robert Rua-Mendez was in a Provo neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon and was yelling that he was being chased and someone was trying to kill him.

First he tried to steal a truck by shattering the window, but when that didn't work he went across the street with a knife in hand and approached a woman who had just pulled into her garage. He then demanded the keys to her car.

"Fearing for her safety she runs into the home, and she didn't want him to steal her car so she closes the garage door," said Lt. Brandon Post of Provo Police Department.

But that trapped Mendez inside the woman's garage. Police said she then opened her home door to open the garage and let him out, but he forced himself into her home, screaming at her for the keys. She then ran out the front door, leaving the man inside.

"A short time later, she heard a crash, which we determined was him jumping out a window," Post said.

That's when those in the neighborhood saw the man wandering through yards.

"He was bloody from head to waist, just soaked in blood he had gashes cuts and everything and had a knife 6 to 8-inch blade, and mumbling weird stuff," said Dallen Caldwell, who witnessed the event.

Witnesses said Mendez started threatening to kill himself, then kneeled in the street and began praying. When police arrived, Mendez put his hands behind his back. He was booked on charges of first degree aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. After a drug test, police said Mendez tested positive for Methamphetamine use.