Deputies allege they spotted thefts in the act

A pair of men, including one from Costa Mesa, were arrested by Los Angeles County deputies last month for allegedly trying to steal beer, snacks and other items from a La Mirada gas station convenience store — while the deputies were present.

The two suspects, identified as Jacob Wallace, 29, of Costa Mesa, and Robert Martin, 18, of Victorville, walked into a Chevron convenience store on Rosecrans Avenue about 4 a.m. Jan. 23.

Authorities said the pair apparently didn't notice two marked patrol cars parked on the side of the store belonging to Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies. Four deputies had entered the store seconds before Wallace and Martin walked in.

Surveillance video released by the Sheriff's Department Thursday showed men identified as the suspects entering the store and walking around for about 30 seconds before allegedly grabbing $18.76 worth of merchandise and running out of the store without paying. The items included snack foods and an 18-pack of beer.

The deputies, who were just feet away, spotted the would-be thieves and chased them down seconds later. Officials said the deputies caught the men before they could enter their car and drive away.

The men face burglary and petty theft charges, according to authorities.

They have been released from custody, pending a court hearing.

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