Robber with knife threatens Atwater man, takes cellphone

An Atwater man escaped from a knife-wielding robber over the weekend after dropping off the suspect at a fast-food restaurant, the Atwater Police Department reported Monday.

The victim, Martin Sanchez-Borroel, age unavailable, told police he was confronted by a man around 3 a.m. Saturday. Sanchez-Borroel was seated in his vehicle, about to leave for work when he noticed another man climbing down from a chain-link fence in the 1100 block of Vine Street, Lt. Samuel Joseph said.

The man approached Sanchez-Borroel and asked for a ride, which Sanchez-Borroel refused, at first. Sanchez-Borroel handed the man his cellphone to make a call, but the man then asked Sanchez-Borroel’s wife to give him a ride. “He was trying to protect his wife, so he agreed to give the man a ride at that point,” Joseph said.

The suspect climbed into the back seat, saying he was too tall to ride up front, and told the victim to drive toward Burger King on North Winton Way, police said.

“The suspect then told Sanchez-Borroel that the police were looking for him and (he) needed to get out of the area,” Joseph said. “Sanchez-Borroel told the suspect he didn’t want to have any problems with the police and dropped him off at Burger King.”

Sanchez-Borroel asked for the return of his phone, but the suspect refused to give it back, police said.

The suspect exited the vehicle, approached the driver’s side of the car and grabbed Sanchez-Borroel by the shirt and asked why Sanchez-Borroel wouldn’t take him where he wanted to go. “Sanchez-Borroel noticed the suspect had a small knife in the other hand at the time he approached him,” Joseph said.

The suspect apparently let go of Sanchez-Borroel, who reacted by hitting the vehicle’s accelerator and driving away, police said.

The suspect was described as a tall, slim, black man, about 25 years old, with short hair and a goatee. He was wearing a black T-shirt, black shorts and black shoes.

The cellphone’s estimated value is $200.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Atwater police detectives at (209) 357-6394.