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Martin Co. deputy stops for snack, foils robbery

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Posted at 5:11 AM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 19:58:37-05

A Martin County sheriff's deputy was in the right place at the right time to foil an attempted robbery at a gas station Wednesday night.

Just after 10 p.m., Deputy Matt Fritchie walked into Chevron on Lost River Road in Stuart.

He was on his way to do probation checks and stopped inside to buy some sunflower seeds.

The clerks working at the time of the robbery called Fritchie a hero. "He understood the situation and took the right action. God sent an angel."

The deputy said he immediately noticed that the clerk appeared nervous about a man standing in front of them.

The sheriff’s office said the suspect made no attempt to turn around and make eye contact with Fritchie. The deputy then walked behind the man and was able to take him down.

"I just go back to it was training," said Fritchie. "All of our training is high stress, but to actually encounter walking in to buy sunflower seeds and then finding that. Never."

Sheriff William Snyder said he is particularly proud of Fritchie's swift actions. "He took the high road," said Snyder. "He took the unsafe ground for himself. He allowed himself to be in harms way to end the situation peacefully."

The suspect had a gun, which was later determined to be fake.

A vehicle with out of state tags was found parked behind the gas station.

The suspect was identified as Dominique Pierce, 24, of North Carolina.

The sheriff's office said Pierce has an extensive criminal history, which includes assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Story updated to clarify the deputy was on duty.