Robbery arrest: Ask not for whom the (Taco) Bell tolls

Liz Evans Scolforo

A drifter with an extensive criminal record intended to steal a Taco Bell manager's car after robbing her of a bank deposit bag of cash, but apparently he was thwarted because he didn't know how to operate a manual transmission, according to police.

Instead, 49-year-old Joseph Jackson took off running with the cash-filled bank bag, charging documents state.

He didn't get far.

West Manchester Township Police said Jackson, of no fixed address, approached a Taco Bell shift manager just before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the 2189 White St. location and waited for her to get into her car.

Jackson told the woman he had a gun and that he would shoot her if she didn't comply with his demands, charging documents state. He told her to start her car, leave the bank bag inside the car, and to get out of her 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit, according to police.

The manager complied, then ran back into the fast-food restaurant, hit the alarm and called 911, police said.

Joseph Jackson. Photo courtesy York County Sheriff's Office.

Fled on foot: She told dispatchers she last saw the robber running through the Taco Bell parking lot, headed toward neighboring Hoss's Steak & Sea House.

"(She) indicated that her vehicle is a stick shift and that the actor probably didn't know how to drive a stick, and this is most likely why he abandoned his efforts to take her vehicle," Detective Sgt. Jeff Snell wrote in charging documents.

York County 911 dispatchers alerted officers in the area to be on the lookout for the man and provided a description of him and the clothing he was wearing.

West Manchester Township Officer James Miller was on patrol near routes 74 and 30 and, within a minute of the 911 dispatch, he spotted Jackson run across Route 74, then go under the Route 30 bypass and disappear, documents state.

York City officers arrived on scene as backup and arrested Jackson, who they found hiding in construction equipment at the northeast corner of routes 74 and 30, documents state.

16 minutes: He was captured 16 minutes after the robbery, according to police.

The Taco Bell shift manager then positively identified Jackson as the man who robbed her, police said.

Officers searched the area for the bank bag before summoning K-9 Lt. Dargo from the York County Sheriff's Office, according to Snell.

But before Dargo could begin sniffing for the bag, an officer found it hidden in the wheel well of a generator near where Jackson had been hiding, documents state.

The bank bag held two sealed money bags, plus $160 in loose cash, according to charging documents. Snell declined to say exactly how much cash was in the bag.

The charges: Jackson is being committed to York County Prison on $225,000 bail, charged with robbery, attempted robbery of a motor vehicle and making terroristic threats.

He hails from New York City, but he told officers he doesn't live in one place and sometimes stays in York's homeless shelters, documents state.

Snell said Jackson has an extensive criminal history outside Pennsylvania that includes violent crime.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.