Mountain View police arrested a man Friday just a few blocks from the bank they allege he robbed about a half hour earlier.
Lawrence Petitta, 53, was taken into custody Friday (June 17) inside the Starbucks located at 750 Castro St. -- where a plainclothes detective found him reading a newspaper less than 30 minutes after employees of the California Bank & Trust, located around the corner at 700 W. El Camino Real, reported they had been robbed by an individual matching his description, Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie said.
Employees from the bank called 9-1-1 at 9:09 a.m., Wylie said, telling dispatchers that a man had approached a teller claiming he had a gun and demanding money. The teller obliged and the man fled.
At 9:35 a.m., the plainclothes detective saw a man matching the description provided by the bank. The man had changed some of his clothes, but some of his clothing was the same as that described by the bank employees.
The plainclothes officer called for backup and kept an eye on the man until more officers arrived at the coffee shop.
While the officer waited, the man went into the Starbucks bathroom. At that point, the officer instructed the store's employees and customers to evacuate.
When the man emerged from the bathroom into an empty store, he had changed all of his clothes and had shaved off his mustache.
The officer took the man into custody, and he was positively identified by bank employees, Wylie said. Police found $1,100 on the suspect and discovered his previous outfit in the Starbucks bathroom trash can. They did not find a gun.
Police will continue looking for a weapon, but Petitta may not have had one, Wylie added. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery.
Wylie identified Petitta as a 53-year-old transient.