Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Isaiah Jacob Moran, 19, has been charged with armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement after allegedly attempting to rob the Dollar General store in Safford.
Suspect reportedly attempted to strike law enforcement vehicles
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – An employee and customers helped thwart an armed robbery attempt at the Dollar General in Safford on Friday night after a teenager allegedly pointed a handgun at a cashier and demanded money. During an ensuing police chase, the suspect allegedly attempted to strike officers’ vehicles, adding additional charges.
Isaiah Jacob Moran, 19, was taken into custody after a high-risk stop. He is being held on a $500,000 bond and has been charged with armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement.
According to a Safford Police report, officers were initially dispatched at about 8:13 p.m. to the Dollar General store at 1640 W. Thatcher Blvd. in Safford regarding an armed robbery. Graham County Dispatch alerted a description of the suspect and advised he fled the area in a gold Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.
A couple of customers who were on their way into the store as the alleged robber was making his escape saw the commotion and decided to follow Moran as he fled in the Chevy. Police were then advised by the customers that they had spotted the truck near the top of Jenson Hill in the area of U.S. Highway 191 and Discovery Park Boulevard.
Officers responded and got behind the Silverado as it traveled westbound on Discovery Park Boulevard. The chase went upwards of 90 mph at times as it winded through Safford surface streets and onto Highway 70. Attempts to spike strip the truck on 20th Avenue failed as Moran blasted through stop signs and red lights. Moran then made a loop back through Safford utilizing 8th Avenue to Relation Street before heading east while driving on the opposite lane on Solomon Road.
Moran then hit Bowie Avenue and took it back to Highway 70 and headed westbound back toward Safford.
As he entered the city at 90 mph, he continued to run red lights and endanger other traffic with erratic driving during the police pursuit, including allegedly attempting to strike officers’ vehicles.
The chase went into Thatcher and then south down Reay Lane before heading back east into the county on Golf Course Road. There officers successfully spike stripped the Chevy and took Moran into custody in a high-risk stop after the Silverado pulled over near the 2300 block of Golf Course Road due to having two tires flattened by spike strips. Thatcher officers and deputies with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office assisted Safford officers in the pursuit.
According to a Dollar General employee’s statement to police, she was near the self-checkout register when she heard a customer come into the store and saw a man wearing a mask with a gun. She said the man demanded cash as he threatened he was “going to do this (expletive deleted) so get the money out” meaning he was going to shoot the person if the cashier didn’t give him the store’s money. At that time, the cashier allegedly told Moran that she couldn’t get into the store’s safe. Moran allegedly told the cashier to get another employee and the cashier instead began to push and chase him out of the store emptyhanded.
The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance system, which shows a man (later identified as Moran) wearing sunglasses, a red face covering, and a black hoodie as he enters the store holding a gun. The cameras show the suspect walking toward the registers and shortly afterward show him leaving the store with the employee behind him.
At the end of the police pursuit, Moran was arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility. During questioning, he allegedly admitted attempting to rob the store for money “for clothes or save up for a car.” He allegedly said that he brandished the gun and demanded money but the clerk told him to leave so he did. He also claimed the weapon he used was a BB gun he “found” and not a real firearm. The gun was not located and Moran advised only that it “must have fallen out” when he got into the truck at the store. When asked later if he threw the gun out during the chase he said he did not remember.
While the weapon was not located, officers seized a red homemade mask made from cloth, sunglasses, gloves, and a black hoodie from the truck, all matching what the suspect was wearing in the surveillance video,
On Monday he was officially charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, and unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement. His bond was set at half a million dollars.