Did jolt-up precede hold-up?

There was an attempted robbery of a Downtown Mall bank this morning, and operators of a local gelato shop believe their security camera captured the suspect in a pre-crime coffee purchase.

"Those pictures are definitely the same guy the police led away in handcuffs," says Fax Ayres, owner of Splendora's, which sells coffee in addition to gelato. Ayres says his morning sales clerk, who asked not to be named, sold the suspect a cup of coffee and was then dumbfounded about an hour later to see the customer led out of the bank in handcuffs.

The security pictures, time-stamped at 8:01am, show a sport-coat clad white male with a newspaper tucked under his left arm. The targeted bank, Union Bank and Trust at 400 East Main Street, is across the Mall from Splendora's.

"I'd never seen him before," says the clerk. "He was completely unremarkable in every way and indistinguishable from any Downtown Mall man in his 30s."

Nonetheless, the clerk feels positive about his identification. "I was looking at the commotion out of our front plate-glass window. They brought out a gentleman with his arms behind his back, and I said, 'Hey, that's the guy who bought coffee and sat out front with his paper.'"

Shortly thereafter, the clerk and the owner decided to examine their security footage, about which they say they have alerted the Charlottesville Police.

NBC29 is reporting that after entering the bank (presumably without his coffee), the suspect may have somehow locked the front door. A woman who answered the telephone at Charlottesville Police headquarters said that the shift commander was unavailable for at least an hour.

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