Cell phone store employee tackles robber; police ask for help identifying suspects

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying two men suspected of trying to rob a T-Mobile in Seal Beach on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a tense fight between an employee and one of the suspects, according to authorities.

The robbery happened around 3:20 p.m. at the T-Mobile in a plaza at 12800 Seal Beach Boulevard, police said. Two suspects entered the store and attempted to steal “high-end cellular phones by cutting the security cables affixed to the display,” Seal Beach police said in a statement Thursday.

Security footage shows one suspect talking to an employee inside. Shortly after, the second suspect enters the store and approaches a cell phone display. The second suspect is then seen turning his back to employees as he attempts to remove the cell phones from the display.

When the employee notices the man cutting the phones off the display, he attempts to stop him from leaving, blocking and grabbing him as he tries to make his way towards the exit. Meanwhile, the other suspect attempts to open the door but flees as the employee tackles his alleged co-conspirator to the ground, the video shows.

As the fight spills outside, witnesses hide behind a register and more T-Mobile employees emerge. Eventually, the suspect appears to drop one of the stolen phones before getting away from the employee, running through the parking lot and fleeing the scene with the other suspect in a gold-colored Lexus sedan, authorities said.

Police described one suspect as a Black man in his late 20s, 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket and dark jeans on the day of the robbery, police said. The second suspect, who was involved in the fight with the employee, was described as a Black or Latino man in his late 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a light grey jack and grey sweatpants, police said.

One witness told police that the suspect was holding a firearm during the fight but did not shoot. No injuries were reported.

The investigation into the robbery is ongoing. Police urge anyone with information to contact detectives at 562-799-4100, extension 1113.

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.