"Scared employees slammed the window shut and ran to the back of the business," Kravetz said. "The suspect left in a dark-colored vehicle without obtaining any money from the business."
As officers began searching for the suspect, Sgt. Eric Lee, the on-duty watch commander, stationed his vehicle near South Coast Highway and Broadway.
After attempting to rob the Jack in the Box, the suspect headed downtown and attempted to rob the Village Mart Gas Station, 120 S. Coast Hwy., Kravetz said.
The suspect allegedly entered the gas station market wearing a plastic bag over his head, then produced a handgun and ordered the clerk to open the register and give him all the cash.
Lee then pulled into the lot and the suspect exited the business without getting any cash, Kravetz said. Lee detained the suspect until other officers arrived. Police allegedly found a fake handgun in the suspect's pocket. His vehicle, a black 2006 Chevy Malibu, was parked nearby.
Police interviewed the suspect and determined that Mattson is the primary suspect in numerous armed robberies stretching from Riverside to San Diego counties, Kravetz said.
Mattson, who police say is homeless, was held at the Police Department and will be transferred to Orange County Jail for arraignment at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.