Police apprehended a man Friday morning just a few blocks from the bank they believe he robbed about a half hour prior to his arrest.
He was taken into custody on June 17 inside the Starbucks 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 911 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 suspect description. The man had changed some of his clothes, but the rest 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 could arrive.
While the officer waited, the man went into the Starbucks bathroom. At that point, the officer instructed everyone in the store 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 bathroom trash can. They did not find a gun.
They will continue looking for a weapon, but he may not have had one, Wylie added. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery.
Wylie identified the man as 53-year-old transient Lawrence Petitta.
A previous version of this story reported that the plainclothes detective discovered Petitta drinking a coffee outside of the Starbucks. He was in fact reading a newspaper inside the Starbucks.