A man identified as a U.S. citizen confronted a would-be car thief Sunday morning and killed the man with a knife, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.
The fatal encounter took place in La Fortuna de San Carlos near the local outlet of the Almacen El Colono chain about 10 a.m., said agents.
Fuerza Pública officers detained the U.S. citizen, who was not identified formally, He is believed to be the owner of a fast-food restaurant in the community.
The dead man was identified by the last names of Mendoza Esquivel, said the Judicial agents.
Judicial agents said that Mendoza was trying to steal a pickup that belonged the the U.S. citizen.
In the confrontation, Mendoza suffered knife wounds in the chest and back, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. It was not known if the would-be car thief was armed. He was dead at the scene. He was 32.
The confrontation elevated the crime from theft to robbery.
The U.S. citizen was reported to be either 40 or 49 years of age.
The U.S. citizen was to be turned over to prosecutors to determine if he would be charged.