Three men police say robbed a cell phone store at gunpoint were arrested Wednesday night thanks to the sharp eyes of a bystander and a Salt Lake County Sheriff's lieutenant who happened to be in the area.
About 5:30 p.m. two men walked into Spring Communications, 1878 W. 12600 South. A short time later a third man walked in and two of the suspects began talking to the lone clerk, said sheriff's Sgt. Kris Ownby. While keeping the clerk occupied, the third man walked into a back storage room and started loading an empty box with cell phones and Blackberries, he said.
The clerk realized one of the three men was missing and instinctively went to the back room where he confronted the man who was stealing phones, Ownby said. That's when the man pulled out a gun from his waistband and pointed at the clerk's head, he said.
He told the clerk to stay in the backroom and not move. The man then took a box full of phones and rummaged through the cash register with his two companions.
When the clerk couldn't hear any more noise from the front of the store he walked out and called police.
Outside the store, a bystander noticed the three men leaving quickly from the business and thought it was suspicious, Ownby said. Then when he saw them running to their vehicle, he followed them long enough to get a license plate number.
The car's description and license plate was dispatched to other deputies. A sheriff's lieutenant in an unmarked patrol car spotted the vehicle and followed it to a house in West Jordan.
Other deputies positioned themselves in the area and waited for the trio to come out of the house and return to the car. When they did, all three were taken into custody without incident, Ownby said.
The house belonged to the parents of one of the three men who were unaware their son had just robbed a store, Ownby said. The parents were cooperative with investigators who searched the house and recovered the stolen phones and the gun used in the robbery, he said.Mario Schaffer, 20, Anthony J. Martinez, 22, and 20-year-old John Segura were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated robbery with gang enhancements. A gang enhancement does not necessarily mean the trio were members of a street gang. The enhancement can be used anytime a violent crime is committed by two or more people.