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Santa Maria man accused of robbery and kidnapping

A Santa Maria man was arrested Sunday after police say he held a man and his juvenile son at gunpoint and then robbed a gas station in Atascadero.

Just before 10:00 a.m., Atascadero Police received a report that a man with a handgun had just robbed a Shell gas station at 9155 San Gabriel Rd.

Police dispatch received a report that the suspect in the robbery had held a man and his juvenile son at gun point and forced the victim to drive from Santa Maria to the Shell station in Atascadero.

While the suspect robbed the gas station, the father and son fled the area on foot next door to Outlaw’s Western Steakhouse in Atascadero.

Cheryl Hanks had just gotten her bar set up Sunday morning at the restaurant when the father and son rushed inside.

“They were frantic, they were terrified,” eyewitness Cheryl Hanks said. “And they told me that a guy with a gun was chasing them and that he was going to come into the restaurant.”

Hanks says the bewildered father and son looked a little lost so she approached them.

“They were saying that they’d been hijacked, basically kidnapped..that they were held against their will with a gun,” Hanks said.

Hanks says they were looking for a place to hide and asked her to please call police.

“So I grabbed the phone, called the police and then I went outside to look for the gunman so he wouldn’t come in the restaurant because there were a lot of people here,” Hanks said.

The suspect then fled the area in the victim’s vehicle and was quickly located by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies. The suspect fled from authorities and drove to San Miguel where he was involved in a crash.

Following the crash, the suspect was taken into custody and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

He has been identified as Baltazar Alverez Mendoza, 26, of Santa Maria.

Mendoza could face possible charges for robbery and kidnapping and additional charges may be presented.

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