A shoplifting suspect assaulted an undercover officer with a hatchet at a Rite-Aid in Riverside earlier this week, police said Thursday.
The Rite-Aid in the 3800 block of Chicago Avenue had been seeing a “significant” increase in retail thefts, prompting police to organize an undercover operation at the pharmacy, according to the Riverside Police Department.
Around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, while the undercover police detectives were at the store, they saw a man taking items and then walking out of the pharmacy without paying, authorities said.
Officers went up to the man as he exited.
“The male began fighting with the officers and during the fight he assaulted one of them with a hatchet,” Police Department officials said on Facebook.
The suspect, later identified as 26-year-old Carlos Santana, was taken into custody after the altercation.
The officer sustained minor injuries, according to police.
Santana, described as being transient and from Riverside, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of a dirk or dagger, shoplifting and two outstanding felony warrants, police said.
He was booked into jail where he was being held without bail.
“This is an example of the many dangers our officers face every day when dealing with criminals on the streets,” the Police Department said. “What began as a simple theft quickly turned into a violent encounter and thankfully the officers were not seriously injured.”