A masked, gun-wielding man held up Comerica Bank on Crow Canyon Place in San Ramon on Thursday, according to a local man who witnessed the escape. Police later confirmed the hold-up.
Brian of Dublin, who asked that his last name not be used, said he was headed to a meeting just before 2 p.m. and was debating whether to enter the bank or go to Starbucks next store.
"I got out of my car, walked to a (bank) table that had some information on it," Brian said. "I took two steps toward the table and this guy kicks open the door, with a ski mask.
"Sure enough the guy takes off running. I look inside the bank and I see all the tellers running, through the window. About 90 seconds later a bunch of squad cars show up."
The holdup man, who was holding a pistol, ran toward I-680, according to Brian, who described the suspect as a black male.
"Behind that brick building is nothing but the freeway," he said, adding that he saw what he described as a suspicious car parked on I-680 with its flashers on after his meeting, about 40 minutes later.
"Witnesses described the man as a black male adult with a ski mask," said San Ramon police Lt. Mike Boehrer, who added that the man had a thin build. "He took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled. Investigators are currently working several leads."
No one from the bank was immediately available for comment.
For Brian, who grew up in San Ramon, the robbery was "surreal," because, he said, he recently played the part of a man being held up at gunpoint for the show "Cuff Me If You Can," which airs on the Discovery Investigation channel.
In that TV show, Brian said, the robber "held me up with a gun and stole my Rolex."
In fact, he said, he looked for cameras after the holdup man ran past him, just in case the event was being filmed.
Brian also said that the incident happened so quickly that most of the people in the parking lot didn't know what had happened.