Employee locks suspected armed robber inside York business, SWAT responds

Employee locks suspected armed robber inside York business, SWAT responds
Officials say a 17-year-old armed robbery suspect had to break out of the business he targeted after an employee locked him inside. (Source: WBTV)

YORK, S.C. (WBTV) - A 17-year-old was arrested after a reported armed robbery and SWAT situation at a business that closed a portion of S. Congress Street in York Thursday morning.

The 17-year-old was found at a nearby home where police arrested him. He was arrested after he broke out of a glass door after an employee locked him inside the store.

The situation began at a hair and beauty supply store on S. Congress Street between California Street and Galilean Road. Officials at the scene told WBTV that a person attempted an armed robbery at the business, but someone inside the building was able to escape the store, lock the suspect inside, and call 911.

“He said open up your register immediately and give me the money," Zakaria Alshaikh, the employee in the store.

At that point, Alshaikh knew there were only two options; stay inside or run. While the suspect was trying to open the safe on the ground of the store, the employee ran to the door and while he was leaving, locked the suspect inside. He then ran to a nearby business and told officers the suspect was locked in the store.

“All I heard were sirens and my husband came out to look and police said get back in, you’re in the line of fire," said Lisa Martin, who watched the SWAT situation unfold from her porch across the street.

SWAT teams were called in due to the fact that police were unsure if the robber was still inside the store. From WBTV’s Sky3, SWAT officers could be seen with rifles drawn around the scene. They also utilized drones to search for the suspect.

The York Police Department tweeted that the road was closed “due to an active crime scene.” They asked citizens to avoid the area.

Once it was discovered the robber was no longer in the business, K-9 officers were able to track him from the front of the store to a nearby apartment complex. Officials say he was eventually found at another residence after possibly getting a ride from someone.

“He was taken back to the station and interviewed where he ultimately confessed to being a part of this attempted armed robbery," said Trent Faris, representing the York Police Department.

Police say the teenager, whose name and charges have not been made public, confessed to the crime when he was arrested.

The area began reopening around 11:30 a.m. and investigators deemed the road “safe.”

The attempted armed robbery is still under investigation. Police are still trying to determine if the suspect got a ride from someone while he was on the run. They’re also investigating if the 17-year-old smashed the glass or if he shot through the glass.

No further information has been released.

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