Video shows customers stopping robbery suspect in Halfmoon
Customers physically detained an alleged in Halfmoon, late Saturday afternoon, investigators said.
Jesus Antonio Menendez-Flores, 26, of El Salvador walked into the Mi Mexico Lindo Tienda y Taqueria at 1505 Route 9 wearing a ski mask, said investigators. He implied he had a gun and demanded cash.
Store security camera footage obtained by NewsChannel 13 captured a figure in a mask reach over the counter at the woman working and grab what appears to be cash. Witnesses heard him say he had a gun.
Almost immediately, video shows customers jump in and shove the person against the wall of the store.
Later, a group of people is seen keeping him on the ground as police rush to the store off Route 9 in Halfmoon. The owners of Mi Mexico Lindo Tienda y Taqueria did not want to go on camera. They told NewsChannel 13 they are shaken by what happened just about a year after they opened in what they thought was a safe neighborhood.
Sheriff’s deputies said Menendez-Flores did not actually have a gun. They said he gave them a fake name. It was only with a fingerprint that authorities learned he is from El Salvador and in the U.S. illegally. They learned he was ordered to be deported in Maryland in 2017. Menendez-Flores was arrested numerous times in Maryland including twice after the deportation order was issued—one of those arrests, for robbery.
The taqueria’s owners said people working there recognized his photo and said he’d been there once before.
Monday, Sheriff Michael Zurlo tells NewsChannel 13 it’s “unacceptable” Menendez-Flores is still in the U.S. and able to put lives in harm’s way Saturday.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.
Sheriff Zurlo said in a statement, “A good witness is better than an injured (or worse) good Samaritan.”
He said while he admires the people who stepped up to grab the suspect, he advises people to avoid putting themselves in harm’s way.
Menendez-Flores was sent to Saratoga County Jail without bail, and the investigation continues.