Hector Santiago, off-duty officer, foils robbery of Wawa in Reading; Frank Valverde charged

Police: Suspect demanded 'all the money' while uniformed officer was in store

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Published: Apr 29 2013 11:41:39 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 29 2013 05:58:59 PM EDT
Frank Valverde
READING, Pa. -

A would-be robbery suspect is behind bars thanks to a police officer in need of milk.

Reading police Ofc. Hector Santiago was off-duty and on his way home from work in his marked K9 vehicle Sunday when he decided to pick up a gallon of milk at the Wawa store in the 1900 block of North 11th Street.

While Santiago was inside the store, a store employee alerted him to a suspicious man she accused of repeatedly taking items without paying for them, according to court documents.

The man, later identified as Frank Valverde, then approached another employee at the counter and requested change for two dollar bills, for which he was given eight quarters. Valverde then said, "Just give me all the money in the box," according to court documents.

The employee replied, "I don't think so," as Valverde noticed Santiago in full uniform. Valverde then told the employee to forget about it and proceeded to walk out of the store, police said.

Valverde, 44, of the 1100 block of Perry Street in Reading, was arrested and charged with robbery and criminal attempt. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $20,000 bail.