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Did S.L. beer thief hijack car, or did he have an accomplice?

A suspect in a beer theft at a Salt Lake convenience store Wednesday night is also being investigated for possible carjacking charges for his choice of a getaway vehicle.

Salt Lake Police Lt. Dennis Tueller said the 19-year-old man threatened a clerk in the Amoco convenience store at 874 E. 1300 South around 9:30 p.m. with a handgun, then ran out of the store with two 12-packs of beer.From there it gets confusing, Tueller said.

The suspect got into a car, which took off from the scene and was pulled over by police a few minutes later near 1000 East and 800 South, Tueller said. The robbery suspect fled on foot but was found several minutes later by police and arrested.

Tueller said detectives are trying to determine if the robbery suspect hijacked the car or if the driver was involved in the incident.

The driver denies knowing the suspect and may have been intimidated by the armed robber telling him he needed a ride, Tueller said, adding some witnesses have given statements indicating the robbery suspect did hijack the car.

"It's confusing at this point," Tueller said Wednesday night. "We're interviewing both parties and trying to find out what happened."

Police recovered the stolen beer and a BB pistol in the car, Tueller said. No shots were fired during the robbery and no one was injured, he said.

Tueller said fast reactions by the victim and witnesses helped police.

"They did exactly the right thing. The victim was on the phone within a minute or so, with a good description of the robber. The witnesses were on the phone, too, reporting what they saw and with good descriptions," said Tueller.