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Bystanders Subdue Convenience Store Thief

August 28, 1987

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A man charged in a convenience store holdup was hospitalized after a customer knocked him down with her car and a teen-ager battered him with a baseball bat.

Dennis Coleman, 29, was in stable condition today in Brackenridge Hospital in Austin after he was charged in the robbery of a convenience store early Thursday, authorities said.

Coleman told the store clerk he had a .45-caliber handgun and threatened her, according to police spokeswoman Kellye Norris.

Norris said he then fled with the money and a woman who had just left the store hit him with her car, knocking him down as he ran across the street.

Louis Mayes, a 19-year-old high school student who lives across the street, said he was outside the store using a pay phone when he saw what happened. Mayes said he grabbed a baseball bat and hit the man in the knee and the ribs before police arrived.

Police handcuffed Coleman, but the suspect jumped out of the police car, fell off an embankment and went over a retaining wall near the curb before police stopped him, Norris said.

Coleman was charged with robbery by threat, a second-degree felony, and bond was set at $25,000. He did not have a gun, Norris said.

Police appreciate citizen involvement but generally advise against such actions, she said.

″We like to see more people get involved, but we do not encourage them to run down robbery suspects,″ Norris said.