The suspect approached the clerk and demands money from the register. (Source: Mesa Police Department)
Booking photo of Piotr Zwolinski from a previous arrest. (Source: Mesa Police Department)
Citizens tackle and wrestle with the robber. (Source: Mesa Police Department)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
Several citizens tackled a robber and held him on the floor until police could arrive and arrest him at a Mesa Walgreens Wednesday afternoon.
The good Samaritans blocked the robber's path as he tried to flee the store at 2737 E. McKellips Road in Mesa about 1:10 p.m.
The suspect, Piotr Zwolinski, 30, had just demanded money from the cashier while covering his face with clothing, said Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato.
Zwolinski didn't display a weapon during the crime, Landato said.
He didn't get very far. Several bystanders confronted him, took him to the ground and held him until two Mesa police detectives arrived to take him into custody.
"She pulled out a handful of 20s," said one of the good Samaritans, Dustin Hollander. "I kind of knew what was going on."
Hollander said he tackled the suspect after seeing him demand money from the cashier.
"I ran around from behind him on the other side and blocked his exit," he said. You can see the struggle in the surveillance video.
Jacob Heward, another bystander who said he practiced jiu jitsu as a kid, jumped in to help, too.
"He was starting to stick his fingers in Dustin's mouth, trying to get him to let go and I put the rear naked choke on him and he kind of just gave up from there," Heward said.
Both men said they stayed with Zwolinski until police arrived. Though they admit it could've ended a lot differently if the guy had pulled out a weapon, they think anyone else would've done the same thing.
"My wife's a clerk at a convenience store right now and if she was getting robbed I wish somebody would step in," Hollander said.
"Just kind of happy I could do something to help out my neighborhood, you know," Heward said.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
[Text BREAKING to 23765 to get news alerts on your mobile phone]
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive
Tucson, AZ 85743