Gilberto Mendoza

Mendoza

A Rexburg man has been charged with multiple felonies after he reportedly robbed a gas station over the weekend.

According to an Idaho Falls Police Department report, an employee at the Maverik gas station on Sunnyside Road told officers Gilberto Mendoza, 27, entered the gas station Saturday evening wearing a mask over his mouth and handed him a note.

The note reportedly said Mendoza was homicidal, that he did not want to hurt anyone, and demanded the employee put $30 on one of the gas pumps.

The employee told police he ignored Mendoza at first to attend to another customer. He refused Mendoza's demands, but when the cash register opened, Mendoza grabbed the cash and drew a knife.

Mendoza told the victim he would return the cash if the victim put $20 on the gas pump. The employee did so, and Gilberto filled his car and drove away. Three witnesses corroborated the victim's story to police.

A manager provided police with security footage of the robbery. Police confirmed Mendoza was the robber based on the tattoos under his eyes.

Idaho State Police located Mendoza driving north on Interstate 15 just 10 minutes after the robbery. A trooper followed Mendoza without turning on his lights, remaining discreet until backup caught up with them.

When the trooper activated his lights, Mendoza attempted to flee. His car slowed after hitting spikes deployed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Mendoza took an exit toward Roberts. The trooper used a PIT maneuver to stop him.

Mendoza then reportedly exited his car with the knife in hand and ran to the driver side of the trooper's car. The trooper exited with his Taser drawn. Mendoza backed away, holding the knife to his own throat and ignoring commands from law enforcement. The trooper used his Taser, incapacitating Mendoza. He was taken to the Bonneville County Jail.

Mendoza was arraigned Monday on one charge of robbery, punishable with a minimum of five years in prison and up to a life sentence. He also was charged with assault or battery upon certain personnel and fleeing or eluding law enforcement in a motor vehicle, both punishable with up to five years in prison.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 23 in Bonneville County Courthouse.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.