Five Mesa schools were locked down and a restaurant was evacuated Tuesday after three suspects in a Chandler burglary fled into Mesa.
Police arrested two men in connection with the crime, but one is still on the loose.
Their names haven’t been released.
The incident began about 11 a.m. when a Chandler homeowner interrupted a burglary at his house in the 1900 block of West Cortez, police said.
Three burglars ran away and the homeowner chased after them, directing police where to go.
A Chandler officer nabbed one man as he fled, but two others ran into a Native New Yorker Restaurant near Southern Avenue and Dobson Road.
Mesa police Detective Steve Berry said the two suspects tried to fade in with the lunch crowd, but couldn’t because a large number of officers from both Chandler and Mesa were on their tails.
Mesa police SWAT units and Chandler’s Special Assignment Unit joined the operation when police realized the men were in a restaurant.
“It appears in their attempts to get away, they tried to run into the restaurant to blend in,” Berry said. “But of course, in all the commotion, they stood out.”
The pizzeria’s general manager, Kevin Byrnes, said he saw the two men come into his restaurant and sit at a table, but didn’t think anything of it until he noticed police outside.
The next thing Byrnes saw were the men leaving the restaurant and officers swarming the area.
“Once I got outside, I went in through another entrance and got (the employees) out,” Byrnes said.
Also, he helped a group of five, who were dining in the restaurant, to leave the building.
Police captured one man near the pizzeria and later found another, but a third man escaped and was still loose late Tuesday. He is described as an Hispanic male in his late teens or early 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, wearing a muscle T-shirt and shorts.
Five schools in the Mesa Unified School District were locked down: Dobson High School, Hendrix Junior High School, and Jordan, Frost and Alma elementary schools, according to school officials. Classes resumed in all schools. St. Timothy Catholic Academy was also locked down.
No one was hurt and no weapons were used by the suspects, according to police.