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Police: Detectives catch suspects as they were about to rob Utah gas station

Police: Detectives catch suspect as they were about to rob Utah gas station (Photo: Salt Lake County)

(KUTV) – A pair of suspected armed robbers are in jail after detectives intervened while the suspects were apparently getting ready to rob a West Jordan gas station.

The ordeal played out Tuesday afternoon when the detectives were conducting surveillance on a Chevron Gas Station at 9000 South Redwood Road.

“They began watching the vehicle and believed these two were about to rob the store again,” West Jordan Police Sgt. J.C. Holt said.

The vehicle matched the description of an SUV used in three robberies at the same Chevron station in the last few weeks. Police moved in and arrested Alfred Folau, 29, and Mosese Mataele, 31.

Officers reported finding one of the suspects wearing a bandanna over his face and the other with a beanie over his head that matched the previous robberies.

“Things just fell into place for us and the officers were able to make an arrest and ultimately prevent another robbery from occurring,” Holt said.

Detectives also recovered a blue-handled knife that was described by the gas station clerk from a previous robbery.

The Chevron was hit on Nov. 18, Nov. 28, and Dec. 7. The clerk told detectives the robbers were apparently comfortable enough carrying out the heist that one of them told her, “you already know what this is about.”

The robberies happened at similar times of day, which prompted police to watch the gas station around the same time Tuesday.

“The detectives were thinking, ‘well, if they’ve robbed it three times, they’re likely to come back,’” Holt said.

Apparently, they were right.

“Usually we are dealing with this after the fact. To actually see something before it happens, and to be able to take that preventative measure and keep them from actually, or what we believe they were going to do, it’s remarkable,” Holt said.

Mataele and Folau remain in the Salt Lake County Jail on $74,000 bail on charges of Aggravated Robbery. Prosecutors are reviewing the case.

KUTV’s Brad Ellis contributed to this report

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