RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Quick thinking by witnesses to an armed robbery at a Richmond grocery store led to the robber’s swift arrest, a police sergeant said.

Around 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, the owner of the Grocery Outlet located at 12010 San Pablo Ave. noticed that a man inside the store was grabbing items from shelves and stuffing them inside his jacket, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

When the owner confronted the man, stolen items started to fall from his jacket. The owner announced he was calling police, and the suspect pulled a utility knife from his jacket and wielded it threateningly, Abetkov said.

The man fled the store, but not before a bystander was able to snap a photo of him. Another witness outside the store captured a picture of the suspect’s car, including the license plate, Abetkov said.

The photos were sent to Richmond police, who found and stopped the car a short time later. A woman who was driving the car said she had dropped the suspect off near Macdonald Avenue and 22nd Street.

An officer located the suspect in the area a short time later and arrested him on suspicion of armed robbery.

Abetkov said the 52-year-old Richmond resident has a long criminal record and is on probation for theft and robbery.

The sergeant said the arrest is another example that “the public is a huge asset” in helping solve crimes.

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