A man suspected of robbing a Richmond Taco Bell Tuesday afternoon was captured within 30 minutes of the heist, but not before hiding out in a terrified elderly man’s backyard and assaulting an officer while resisting arrest, according to police and witnesses.
The incident unfolded about 2 p.m. at the Taco Bell at 2300 Barrett Ave. when the suspect, identified as 47-year-old Gary Brewer, reached over the counter at the restaurant and swiped an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, according to the eatery’s manager, who recognized him as a local homeless man.
Brewer, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs about 285 pounds, fled the eatery as employees called 911, Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan said.
Responding police began to search the neighborhood. One officer spotted a person matching the suspect’s description run into the nearby residential area, Tan said. The officer called for backup and a perimeter was set up around the neighborhood with “officers on every corner.” In addition, K-9 units were deployed to track the suspect’s scent.
The scent was lost, however, and police began to believe the suspect had gotten away. But before leaving the neighborhood, an 80-year-old resident on Hayes Street asked them to search his backyard. Officers found Brewer hiding there, Tan said.
“Even after several attempts of asking the suspect to comply and submit to the arrest, the suspect assaulted one of the officers,” Tan said. “The suspect was eventually taken into custody and arrested with the loot on him. Furthermore, witnesses positively identified the suspect at the scene.”
The 80-year-old resident is a regular customer of the Taco Bell and was understandably shaken up by Brewer’s presence on his property, the Taco Bell’s manager said.
Police said they were grateful for the help they received from the restaurant’s employees and community members in swiftly solving the crime.
“Great job by all and thank you for helping your police department,” Tan stated in a post on the department’s Facebook page.