Co-Worker Saves Clerk from Kidnapping

What seemed like a normal night for a south Walton County convenience store quickly turned abnormal. Employees never thought much about the frequent customers, until the two regulars tried to kidnap a store clerk.

At the Chevron Express Lane convenience store where West Highway 98 meets County Road 30A West, two attempted kidnappers met their match.

It was just beyond the doors early Sunday morning that Luis C Martinez of Santa Rosa Beach allegedly tried to kidnapping a female clerk.
Luckily, her co-worker Ralph Nelson, who was stocking a cooler in the back, heard her cries for help. " I always leave the cooler door open, just for this reason. She was real good. Just as soon as it happened she started calling my name. She knew I would be there and I'm not going to let a co-worker down."

Nelson put Martinez in a headlock and a short struggle followed. However, once Nelson had him in front of a security camera, Martinez fled. "I followed him outside just enough to get the tag number, because once he got in his vehicle I didn't know what he had in it."

When Walton County deputies arrived they questioned Javier Diaz, an apparent friend of Martinez who was left behind after Martinez fled. Diaz claimed not to know his friend but surveillance video proved otherwise.

Deputies let Diaz go, at least he thought. They followed him home, and staked out the place. It wasn't too long before Martinez showed up.

The two tried to run from the police but were quickly caught.
Within three hours of the initial incident Martinez was back in the Express Lane store being positively identified. However, the most surprising thing about the whole situation is that Diaz and Martinez were regular customers of the store.

In fact, store employees had even nicknamed Martinez. "We just casually called him 'the stalker' because he was never really any trouble- then all of a sudden one day he was."

Martinez is charged with resisting arrest without violence, aggravated assault with the attempt to commit a felony and attempt to commit a crime.

He's being held in the Walton County Jail in Defuniak Springs with bond set at three thousand dollars.


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