TUCSON - Police enter a Tucson Catholic church during Mass and arrested an armed teenager after he allegedly robbed a nearby Macy's Department Store a few moments before.
Police found the 17-year-old boy sitting in a pew Sunday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church and he was arrested without incident, police Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Monday.
Though the teen had pulled a handgun on security officers at Park Place Mall, the boy did not brandish it in the crowded church, Pacheco said.
Pacheco would not release the identity of the minor, who was booked into the Pima County Juvenile Court Center.
As they watched store surveillance cameras, Macy's security officers spotted the boy and a young woman with him take two jackets, Pacheco said.
When confronted, the boy pulled the pistol.
As the boy ran from the mall, he pointed the pistol at a mall security officer who tried to stop him outside, Pacheco said.
An off-duty officer working security at the mall spotted the boy and gave chase, Pacheco said, adding the officer heard the call over a police radio he carried.
Other officers then joined the pursuit.
Inside St. Josephs, few noticed the youth had run in during Mass being said by Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Deacon Leon Mazza said.
"Nothing was thought amiss until we saw some police officers in the front of the church," he said. But, Mazza added, "we had no clue what was going on over there, because we had standing room only."
The young woman with the suspect, identified as Ashley Navarette, 18, of Tucson, was booked into the Pima County Jail on suspicion of one count of aggravated robbery. She was released after an initial court appearance.