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Robber caught by gas attendant goes to court

One of the top stories across media houses on Monday was about the brave gas station attendant who pursued a man that had just robbed him. Due to the attendant’s actions, the police were able to apprehend the robber, who was later identified as 35-year-old, James Escarpeta. (ESCARPETA VO) Escarpeta was hospitalized with a gunshot injury that he received during the robbery attempt, but he was discharged from the hospital and taken to the Magistrate’s Court in Belmopan yesterday afternoon. He appeared in front of Magistrate Janell Villanueva and was charged with robbery and keeping an unlicensed firearm. Escarpeta pleaded not guilty to both charges, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Magistrate Villanueva told him that due to the nature of the charges, he could not be granted bail. He is remanded until October 2. The incident occurred on Sunday, July 7, at around 1pm. Escarpeta made his way to Buca Service Station and robbed the cashier. He then went outside and robbed 2 of the gas station attendants. He tried to flee the scene by using his weapon to take control of 2 vehicles, but was unsuccessful. He decided then to flee on foot, and that is when one of the attendants jumped into his vehicle and chased after the robber. The attendant then hit Escarpeta with his vehicle and subsequently tried to take away his gun. A struggle ensued, during which Escarpeta was shot in his arm. The attendant, after subduing Escarpeta, used his military training to dismantle the gun. According to our archives, Escarpeta was acquitted on a charge of murder back in March 2009 after the witness experienced amnesia. The murder case was that of Kevin Parks, who was killed on Euphrates Avenue in November 2006.//////