Deputies: Teens drag store owner across parking lot in effort to steal beer



A Seminole County store owner was dragged across a concrete parking lot after he tried to stop three teens from running off with less than $40 worth of beer.

Police said the thieves robbed the MJM Food Store on South County Road 419 and East 2nd Street.

Store owner Jayesh Patel said he wanted his beer back, so he grabbed one of the teens' sleeves and in the process, put himself in a lot of danger.

"I never think that they can kill me for $35," said Patel.

Patel said he has seen more than one set of teens try to steal beer. But he said this is the first time he has had a group try to make a break for it.

"They parked here, and I just held his T-shirt from here," Patel said, describing how he held on to one of the teens in their car.

Patel said the teens sped off as he held on. He said he was dragged a short distance across the parking lot, all the while screaming for help.

A customer at the store followed the teens as they headed through a neighborhood.

As the teens raced away, their car spun out and ran into a ditch. When the teens emerged from their vehicle, they found two men staring at them with guns drawn.

One of those holding a gun on them was the customer, who had a concealed weapons license; the other was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who just happened to be in the area. The two kept the teens in place until sheriff's deputies arrived.

Austin Leake, 18, Jacob Edwards and Cyle Sloat, 17 were taken away in handcuffs.

"I hope they learn a good lesson from this," said Patel.

The teens are facing charges of robbery and aggravated assault. Their bonds were set at $7,100.