Historic City News local reporters were informed this afternoon that St Augustine police responded to the Sunoco station located at 2199 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard at about 1:40 p.m. after receiving a call from the manager reporting a robbery.
Officer Michal Ochkie arrived at the scene and began the investigation; broadcasting a description of a getaway vehicle, headed south, and a robbery suspect, fleeing the gas station on foot.
As Ochkie collected statements from the victim and eye witnesses, officers Michael Kettman and John Niederriter spotted a 2012 Maroon Nissan near Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Sanchez Street that matched the vehicle used during the robbery.
The driver of the car, 23-year-old Richard William Palmer who resides at 5860 Datil Pepper Road in St Augustine, and a passenger, 25-year-old Lauren Elizabeth Parker who resides at 4905 Moultrie Reserve Court in St Augustine, were detained when the officers stopped the vehicle near the St Johns County Library on US-1 at San Carlos Avenue.
According to the report, released from Public Information Officer Mark Samson, the manager of the Sunoco station recognized 35-year-old Eric Rene Tirado; who, he said, is a frequent visitor to the Sunoco South store.
The manager said he asked Tirado to step outside the store so that he could talk with him, and an argument ensued. Tirado, who resides at 2391 US-1 South, Lot 11, in St Augustine, reportedly reached into the manager’s pocket and took, by force, an unknown amount of cash.
Police say Palmer got out of the automobile to assist Tirado. Witnesses say Palmer began striking the manager. Tirado broke free and attempted to dive through the car window in order to escape; but took off running, instead, as the car and its two occupants pulled away.
Arriving officers Tim Bryan and Daniel Lui pursued Tirado on foot; overtaking him and returning him to the Sunoco Station for identification. Tirado and Palmer were identified by witnesses at the scene as the men who committed the crime.
The passenger in the vehicle was identified, as well; however, she was released without charges, police reported.
Eric Tirado has been charged with felony robbery and Richard Palmer faces two charges; misdemeanor battery and felony charges of accessory after the fact. Both men remain in custody at the St Johns County Detention Facility without bond until their first appearance hearing in the morning.