Michoacana market robbed at gunpoint
A suspect turned himself in two hours after robbing a local Spanish corner store La Michoacana Market at gunpoint Sunday evening after 7 p.m. Police arrested 26-year-old Quetzalcotal Balcon, who calls himself "Bryant." Charges for aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, were filed against Balcon in the county’s Third District Court on Wednesday. If he is found guilty, Balcon could face five years to life in prison.
According to the market’s clerk, the suspect wore a plastic neoprene ski mask, dark hat and gloves, but La Michoacana owner Jose Suarez says the clerk recognized his voice as one of a regular customer.
"He comes in here in the mornings and afternoons and I know him," Suarez told The Park Record.
Police interviewed the clerk who said she thought the man was joking until the suspect’s handgun began to shake while making serious demands. "Give me all the money you have and don’t yell," he said while pointing the gun at the woman behind the register, according to the police report.
Police say the suspect took $700 before leaving the business.
According to PCPD Lt. Phil Kirk, Sgt. Marty Howard, and Spanish-speaking detective Mike Fierro, and two other officers worked quickly once the incident was reported. PCPD Officer Jim Snyder was first to arrive.
"Basically, the reason why it only took a few hours [to arrest Balcon] is because it was good police work. They questioned the suspect’s roommates and associates, and I think once Balcon became aware of that, he decided he probably ought to turn himself in," Kirk said.
According to Kirk, Balcon is a Park City resident and owns a white van that fits the description of the vehicle the suspect used to flee the scene on Sunday.
Detective Fierro has collected enough information to hold Balcon in jail to determine his immigrant status. Fierro says Balcon is from Mexico, and has worked as a house painter, among other things, in the Park City area for a few years.
Suarez says he was surprised that a customer would threaten a cashier at his store. In the past, Suarez can only recall a few shoplifters stealing a loaf of bread or a few drinks from the coolers.
"Salt Lake is different, but here, look I don’t bar the doors," he explained. "This is Park City [and] we don’t make a lot [of money]."
But now, Suarez is taking steps to secure his store. By Tuesday, he had added a second camera and television screen that can record the daily transactions at the front counter and was contemplating additional security measures.
"Tomorrow, a security company is going to come in and put in a panic button," he said.
Suarez adds he feels lucky that everyone is safe, but he’s disappointed that someone from the Latino community decided to rob him.
"It’s too bad," he said of the crime. "Some Hispanics are bad, but a lot of us are good people."
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