A woman who witnessed an attempted robbery at a Taco Bell restaurant in Chula Vista is being credited for leading police straight to the suspect.
According to the Chula Vista Police Department, suspect Salvador Martinez, 35, allegedly tried to rob employees at the Taco Bell located at 696 E Street on Jul. 23.
Police say Martinez – who was out on bail for a previous arrest – entered the restaurant at around 11:35 a.m., walked behind the service counter and yelled for patrons to get on the ground. Then, he allegedly held a knife to two employees and demanded money.
The employees told Martinez they did not have access to the safe, and he fled the scene.
Several witnesses called police to report the incident and provided a description of the suspect.
Police say one woman who witnessed the attempted robbery watched as Martinez fled the scene and walked west on E Street. She followed him in her car and told a police dispatcher over the phone that Martinez had taken off his shirt and changed into a different one.
She then directed officers to the transit station at Interstate 5 and E Street, where Martinez was waiting to board the trolley. When officers arrived at the transit station, they arrested the suspect on the spot.
Martinez was booked into jail on several charges including two counts of attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and committing a felony while out on bail. His bail has been set at $150,000 and he’s scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
The Chula Vista Police Department says this case serves as a good example of invaluable and timely witness information, as well as police teamwork and coordination with dispatchers. All of those factors combined led to a prompt response and arrest of an armed felon, police said.