HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Customers detained a man wearing a ski mask attempting to rob the Mi Mexico Lindo Tienda y Taqueria in Halfmoon Saturday around 4:25 p.m. Jesus Antonio Menendez-Flores, 26, of El Salvador, is charged with first-degree robbery.

Deputies initially said Menendez-Flores entered the grocery store/restaurant wearing a ski mask with a gun. He was physically detained by several customers.

“It’s better to be a good witness than an injured good Samaritan, and I think that holds true. I certainly admire the people for what they did in the situation, and it led to a quick resolution, but you always run the risk that that’s not going to happen,” said Captain Daniel Morley with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.

Through further investigation, it was found that Menendez-Flores did not have an actual firearm, he only implied he had one.

Deputies say Menendez-Flores provided a fake name when he was arrested and was in the U.S. illegally. He was subjected to a previous deportation order issued in February 2017. He is currently held at the Saratoga County Jail without bail.

In a statement to NEWS10, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo wrote:

“We first learned of Mr. Menendez-Flores’ immigration status when his fingerprint response came back to a different name than he had provided us. As a result of the fingerprint response, we learned that he had been ordered to be deported from the United States in February 2017. As such, we notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Additionally, we learned that Mr. Menendez-Flores had been arrested numerous times in Maryland including twice after the deportation order was issued. One of these arrests was for robbery and one was for a probation violation. I would refer you to the Montgomery County Police Department (MD) for comment as to whether ICE was contacted in either situation. In any event, he was clearly allowed to continue his criminal behavior in New York and put innocent civilians and law enforcement in harm’s way. This is unacceptable. Period. With respect to civilians becoming involved in the matter, I always remind people that a good witness is better than an injured (or worse) Good Samaritan. While I admire those who acted in this instance, I always encourage people to avoid putting themselves in danger and to let law enforcement do its job.” 

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo