) CABAZON, Calif. A man was arrested after he tried to rob a gas station convenience store near the Morongo Casino with a tennis racket he claimed was an Uzi assault rifle, authorities said.
Ernesto Martinez, 20, of Cathedral City, allegedly pulled up about 2 a.m. to the Morongo Travel Center at 49020 Seminole Drive and entered the store with a tennis racket, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Scott Baeckel.
Martinez "yelled out that he was armed with an Uzi assault rifle, he was robbing the store, and that he was going to kill everyone inside and burn the building down. He then began lighting a piece of paper on fire and pointing the tennis racket as if it were a gun," the sergeant said.
A security guard disarmed Martinez of the tennis racket and handcuffed him, Baeckel said.
Martinez was arrested on suspicion of robbery, criminal threats, arson and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
He was booked at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and is expected to appear at the Southwest Justice Center on Wednesday.