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Orange County

Standoff Ends With No Suspects

September 10, 2002|MAI TRAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 10-hour police standoff at an Anaheim carwash ended early Monday when officers discovered that two would-be robbers were not inside the building.

The daylong incident began when the manager of the Sunkist Carwash saw three men he believed were going to rob the business at Lincoln Avenue and Sunkist Street, said Police Sgt. Mike Hidalgo.

Unaware that any suspects were inside, the manager told employees to lock up and leave. After the manager called authorities from a neighboring business, he saw one of the three men inside the carwash's office, where the safe is located, police said.

When officers arrived, they arrested James Daniel Smith, 23, of Santa Ana on suspicion of attempted robbery and being under the influence of drugs.

Police said Smith told them that two armed men were still inside. A SWAT team tried to negotiate with the men, first by bullhorn and then with a cell phone that they tossed into the carwash. Ten hours later, police discovered that no one was inside.

"It's a good possibility that when the manager called police, the other two suspects walked out of the business," Hidalgo said. "We had to go with the latest information that we got, and it was 'They're in the business, and they're armed with handguns.' "

Hidalgo doubted the men escaped once police were on the scene.

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