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San Benito
May 25, 2024

HPD: Man tried to assault Lucky manager, kidnap worker

Hollister police arrested a 50-year-old San Leandro man on suspicion of assaulting the Lucky supermarket on McCray Street and attempting to kidnap an employee, according to an HPD statment.

According to police:

On Jan. 10 at about noon, Hollister Police were dispatched to the Lucky Store located at 294 McCray St. in Hollister on a report of a possible attempted robbery.  The reporting party advised the suspect possibly had a gun and had battered a store staff member.

When police arrived store staff members advised the suspect had left the store on foot and was possibly on the south side of the store.  Officer Tong responded to that side of the store and located a man matching that description. Upon seeing the police approaching, the man quickly moved his hand into his open jacket simulating reaching for a weapon. After several commands for the man to show the officer his hands, the man finally exposed his empty hands and was detained without further incident.

Witnesses described the suspect, later identified as John David Abeyta (50) from San Leandro entered the store and began yelling at the store manager to get on the ground.  Witnesses advised the suspect was grabbing at his jacket pocket as if he was holding a handgun.  The suspect struck the store manager several times in the head causing injury.  He also threatened other people and told them not to move.

The man then approached another store staff member and commanded her to go with him or he would shoot her.  The woman ran away from the man as another store employee came to assist the store manager.  The third staff member yelled at the suspect to leave the store and advised him the police had already been called.  After a few moments the man finally walked out of the store.

Although the suspect told officers he had discarded a gun, a thorough search of the area did not produce any firearm.

Abeyta was transported to the San Benito County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of battery with bodily injury, burglary, false imprisonment and committing criminal threats.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the Hollister Police Department at (831) 638-4115. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.