Store Owner Thwarts Robbery
STURGIS -- Police say arrests in a robbery attempt thwarted when a grocery-store owner armed himself and chased off the suspects may lead to arrests in another holdup earlier in December.
Two would-be robbers fled the LaSierra, a Sturgis grocery, around 1:30 p.m. Monday after seeing the store owner headed toward them with a gun, according to the Sturgis Police Department. The owner of the North Jacobs Street store then jumped into his vehicle and tailed the men, who had gotten into a waiting car driven by a third man, police said.
Another person in the store at the time said she saw two men approaching the business with bandanas covering their faces. She left, suspecting a robbery was going to take place, and called 911.
Sturgis officers were flagged down by the store owner from his car and provided with a description of the vehicle and of the two men who had entered the store. A Michigan State Police trooper spotted a vehicle matching the description of the get-away car west of Sturgis, near White Pigeon.
Officers from the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department and Middlebury (Ind.) Police Department assisted in apprehending three Indiana men as their vehicle, southbound on U.S. 131, approached the Michigan/Indiana border, according to Sturgis police.
Police said they believe at least one man involved in Monday's incident took part in an armed robbery of LaEsperanza, another Sturgis grocery store, in early December. Police are expected to seek warrants for additional suspects believed to have been among four men who held up LaEsperanza.
Police said the men arrested Monday were identified by a witness and that suspected crime-scene evidence was found in their vehicle. No handgun was recovered, however.