By Julie Grant

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WILKINSBURG (KDKA) — A suspected bank robber is behind bars Thursday after police caught him buying beer down the street minutes after the robbery.

Police say after he robbed the bank he was caught minutes later buying beer down the street. Police also say, this isn’t his first robbery.

Police said he told the teller he had a weapon, although he never displayed one. When they arrested him, all he had on him was $1,900 cash and beer.

Wilkinsburg police say the call came in shortly after 10 a.m., of a man robbing the PNC Bank at the intersection of Penn and Wood.

“We had passersby who knew what we were looking for and they gave us the information,” said Chief Ophelia Coleman of the Wilkinsburg Police Department.

Witnesses told police the man went down the street to Wilkinsburg Beverage right after leaving the bank.

“Officer Yuhouse spotted the actor coming out of Wilkinsburg Beverage,” said Chief Coleman.

In the parking lot, police arrested the man matching the description. He is 64-year-old Lamont Gates and he lives in Wilkinsburg.

“He was walking pretty casually until he noticed the police cars and then he had the deer in the headlights look — like, ‘OK, now I’m probably busted,’” said Lt. Michelle Krempasky.

What’s more? The arrest was done in record time — only four minutes after the robbery.

“It just makes me feel proud. I knew that these officers have it and this man was arrested without incident,” said Chief Coleman.

When police were questioning Gates, they say he admitted to doing the robbery at the PNC and another one last Thursday right across the street at the Dollar General. There are surveillance images, police said, that show Gates robbing the Dollar General with a butcher knife.

Police said being able to catch him Thursday was largely because of their partnership with the community.

“I think a lot of that has to do with us knowing the people. We go up there. We walk around all the time. The people on Penn know us,” said Lt. Krempasky.

“It’s a partnership. It’s a collaboration and we couldn’t be happier,” said Chief Coleman.

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