LANCASTER – With the help of some alert eyewitnesses, deputies caught a thief just minutes after he robbed an east Lancaster gas station at gunpoint Friday afternoon, according to authorities.
Deon Fite, 21, was arrested around 3 p.m. Friday after a short foot pursuit, said Lancaster Station Watch Sergeant Reddish.
“They recovered both the gun and the money that was taken,” Reddish said.
Fite was identified by an employee as the man who held up the Valero gas station near 5th Street East and Avenue K in Lancaster. At least two customers were in the store during the robbery, Reddish said.
“It sounds like it was a quick robbery… he had a gun, the money was given up, and he left,” Reddish said.
After the robbery, Fite fled westbound on Avenue K into the Sienna Heights apartment complex, officials said.
“Several witnesses were able to give a location of where he was,” Reddish said. “Containment by the deputies was quickly set up, and he was located.”
“There was a short foot pursuit where he ran from the deputies, [but] the deputies caught up with him and detained him at gunpoint,” Reddish continued.
Fite was booked at the Lancaster Station for robbery and is being held on $100,000 bail.
UPDATED 7/20/12 at 11:15 p.m.: According to a Sheriff’s press report issued moments ago, a Sheriff’s civilian employee witnessed the robbery and was instrumental in helping deputies to catch the thief. Read the report below:
In the afternoon hours on July 20, an off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s civilian employee had just got off of work and stopped at a Valero convenience store to get gas. Once she walked into the store, a male later identified as 21 year-old Deon Fite, followed behind her wearing a bandana on his face and yielding a handgun.
The suspect walked behind the store’s front counter and demanded money from the clerk at gun point. The Sheriff’s employee hastily exited the store and dialed 911 where she advised Lancaster Station of the robbery.
The employee watched Suspect Fite at a distance, following him on Avenue K to the Sienna Heights Apartments at the 43500 block of Kirkland Avenue, Lancaster. She kept law enforcement updated on the suspect’s whereabouts by her cellular telephone and directed deputies to his location within the apartment complex.
As deputies attempted to contact Suspect Fite, he attempted to flee by jumping over a wall which was apparently too tall. The suspect ran about 100 feet prior to proning himself on the ground and was taken into custody.
Deputies recovered the stolen cash and a loaded .38 caliber handgun from the suspect’s pants pockets. The suspect was identified as a local gang member on active parole out of Bakersfield for weapon charges. The suspect was also in possession of a stolen cellular telephone taken in another recent theft in Lancaster.
Suspect Fite was booked at Lancaster Station for Robbery and is being held on $100,000.00 bail with an additional charge of Parole Violation.