By Michael Picarella & Trevor Morgan
Signal Staff Writers
Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man, approximately 20 years old, Thursday morning on suspicion of stealing a replica firearm and body armor from Commando Military Surplus on Main Street in Newhall, according to sheriff’s officials.
Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said deputies responded to a call at about 11:40 a.m. regarding the possible theft. Joe Gomez, owner of the store, said the suspect was at the business trying on the body armor and looking at firearms in a counter case.
“He saw a replica firearm that we use to demonstrate a flashlight — you know, that hooks on the gun,” Gomez said. “We don’t sell them, but we had one to demonstrate the light. And he goes, ‘Ah, cool. Is that real?’ I’m like, ‘No, it’s a replica.’ And he goes, ‘Cool, can I take a look at it? How does the light work?’ And so, he was playing with the light. The next thing you know, boom, he ran out of the store.”
Gomez said he chased the suspect southbound on Main Street where he lost him in an alleyway near Market Street. The store owner added that he was calling 911 while going after the suspect.
“The deputies got there really fast,” Gomez said.
Arriaga said deputies found and detained a suspect matching the description and that an investigation is still underway.
According to Gomez, the Sheriff’s Department recovered the stolen merchandise and returned it to the store.