Police Thwart Gun Store Robbery; 2 Arrested

A police SWAT team in the midst of a training exercise helped foil a robbery Friday at a sporting goods store, leading to the arrest of two men.

Officers responded to the Sports Authority on Newhope Street shortly after 10:15 a.m., Fountain Valley Police Sgt. Jim Perry said. Police had received a call about two men in a car with its license plate covered in the mall parking lot, he said.

A Fountain Valley SWAT team in the area on a training maneuver responded, he said.

The robbers, one wielding a BB gun and the other brandishing a fake firearm, entered the store and demanded guns, police said. When an employee attempted to wrestle the BB gun from one robber, he was pistol-whipped, Perry said.

Police provided no information regarding the condition of the employee, who was taken to an undisclosed hospital.

When the SWAT team arrived, customers and the suspects were running out of the store, police said. Officers quickly arrested both suspects, who are from San Bernardino County.

They were identified as Nicholas DeMarco Lester, 20, and a 17-year-old whose name was not released because of his age.

Police recovered one handgun taken from the store, Perry said, and confiscated a car belonging to the suspects.

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