Eric Moldoven

Eric Moldoven

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department arrested a transient Wednesday as a suspect in a gas station robbery and assault on the clerk.

Video images from surveillance cameras at the Mobil station at Turnpike Road and Hollister Avenue led a sheriff’s detective to the suspect, found several hours later in a nearby field.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Mark Williams said a man entered the station at 4801 Hollister Ave. shortly before 5 a.m. and demanded that the clerk give him cash from the register. The suspect then attacked the clerk with a metal flashlight, hitting him repeatedly on the head.

The suspect fled with about $100 in cash, heading northwest toward the Turnpike Shopping Center, according to Williams.

He said the victim was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was treated for moderate injuries and released.

The suspect, 44-year-old Eric Moldoven, was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of robbery, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $1 million.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.