Diners allegedly held hostage over missing phone


A drunk, knife-wielding man was arrested after allegedly holding employees and patrons hostage inside a restaurant in San Leandro last weekend, police said.

Authorities said 26-year-old Jose Alas of San Leandro was angry because he thought somebody had stolen his cellphone at the La Pinata Restaurant at 2699 Merced St. at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday.

Witnesses said Alas was armed with a knife and was threatening employees and patrons, police said.

Before officers arrived at the restaurant, several employees and patrons wrestled Alas to the floor and disarmed him, according to police.

One customer had handcuffs and used them to detain Alas, police said.

When officers arrived, they took custody of Alas but he continued to be combative and bit an officer on the leg while thrashing around, according to police.

Alas was eventually arrested on suspicion of brandishing a weapon, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest, police said.

San Leandro police spokesman Lt. Richard DeCosta said in a statement, “This incident could have escalated and become much more violent had these employees and patrons not stepped in and responded the way they did. As a result of their swift action, no one was seriously injured and the suspect was arrested.”

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