A transient known as "Hobo John" was arrested Sunday morning after he allegedly tried to rob J's Smoke Shop at 3100 E. Service Road.
The female clerk at the store called police at 1:27 a.m. to say she was behind the cash register when John Freeman, 48, walked behind the counter and grabbed her by the hair and pulled it to gain access to the open cash register. She grabbed a stick to strike him which caused him to let go and flee southbound without the money on the canal bank from Service Road behind the business.
After reviewing surveillance video of the crime, Officer Jesus Salinas identified the suspect as Freeman who frequents the area and sleeps in the empty fields behind the businesses. Salinas issued a warrant for Freeman's arrest. The suspect was picked up a few hours later by Officer Eric Souza as he was spotted walking northbound on the west side of the Turlock Irrigation canal west of Moore Road. Freeman initially tried running westbound on Service Road but Souza intercepted him on the east side of the Chevron gas station at Service and Mitchell roads.
Freeman was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for attempted robbery, probation violation, and resisting arrest.