A Santa Maria man is accused of carjacking a father and son in Santa Maria, holding them at gunpoint and forcing them to drive to Atascadero, where the victims escaped while the suspect robbed a Shell gas station before fleeing, police said.
The armed robbery at the Shell station at 9155 San Gabriel Road was reported at 9:50 Sunday morning, police said.
Shortly after, authorities received a call from a man who told them that he and his son had been carjacked in Santa Maria that morning and forced to drive north on Highway 101 to Atascadero. The man told officials that they stopped at the Shell station, where he and his son escaped during the robbery.
The suspect, 26-year-old Baltazar Alvarez Mendoza of Santa Maria, fled the robbery in the victim’s car, police said. After a pursuit that included San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies, the car crashed in San Miguel. No further details were immediately available.
Mendoza was arrested on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping and was taken to the San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to jail records.