Three men are in custody on suspicion of attempted robbery and face a variety of other felony charges after a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol followed his instincts and caught the three up to no good in the Auto Zone store at Whites Canyon and Soledad Canyon Roads Monday evening.
The deputy watched as Juan Patino, 34, of La Puente, walk behind a store display, reach into his waistband and throw something into the display area, knocking several anti-freeze bottles to the ground. The man continued to move around the store reportedly dropping a baggie of methamphetamine in one of the aisles.
He continued towards the back of the store as the deputy ordered him to stop and store employees scrambled to get out of the way. The deputy detained Patino and a second suspect, Ernesto Mendoza, 20, of Canyon Country.
During the investigation, deputies recovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the anti-freeze display, methamphetamine on the floor in one of the aisles, and other drug paraphernalia on another shelf inside the store.
Deputies determined that a third suspect, Marie Juarez, 40, of Canyon Country was waiting near a vehicle outside the store that had the license plates covered up.
All three suspects were arrested and were booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
Suspect Patino, a suspected gang member, faces potential felony charges of attempted robbery, felon in possession of a concealed weapon, felon in possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a loaded firearm with narcotics, possession of a firearm with altered or removed serial numbers and possession of methamphetamine.
Suspects Mendoza and Juarez were each booked on a felony charge of attempted robbery. The three suspects are each being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to immediately contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121.