SAN MATEO -- The manager of a Pleasanton McDonald's was arrested last week after police said he robbed his own restaurant and another in San Mateo at gunpoint, herding workers into a walk-in refrigerator.
Felix Becerra, 42, was arrested Sept. 2 in San Leandro after a San Mateo police officer followed a PT Cruiser linked to an armed robbery at the McDonald's restaurant at 1234 West Hillsdale Blvd. over the San Mateo Bridge, San Mateo police Sgt. Dave Norris said. Days later, police discovered he committed the same kind of robbery five days earlier at the McDonald's on Pimlico Drive in Pleasanton, which happened to be the franchise where he worked as store manager.
Police say about 3 a.m. Aug. 28, Becerra climbed through the drive-thru window of the store where he works wearing a white, full-face mask and white gloves and pointed a revolver at his own employees while ordering them into the office to retrieve cash from the safe, Pleasanton Police Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber said. Once the employees handed over the money, Becerra demanded they go into the freezer and not come out for 30 minutes.
He struck again Sept. 2 around 10:30 p.m. at the San Mateo McDonald's, police said, this time entering the store, forcing employees into the refrigerator at gunpoint, and ordering a worker to open the restaurant's safe. While Becerra originally escaped from that store with an undisclosed amount of cash, he was stopped on Interstate 880 later that night, where police found a look-alike gun and cash from the holdup in his car, along with the backpack and hooded sweatshirt used in the crime, Norris said.
The connection between the two crimes was not made until September 5, when San Mateo authorities contacted Pleasanton about the suspect in their custody, Schlehuber said. He noted that Becerra was already on their radar as a suspect, thanks to one of the employees he forced into the freezer, who told officers she recognized the masked man when she caught the nerve to look him in the eye.
"(The employee) said, 'He had similar eyes to our manager,'" said Schlehuber, who noted that Becerra actually went to work the day after the crime and was questioned by authorities. "We were looking for him, and couldn't find him because he was sitting in jail in San Mateo."
Pleasanton police did not see Becerra again until he confessed to both crimes in San Mateo County Jail, where he was booked on armed robbery charges, Schlehuber said. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office and San Mateo County District Attorney's office will seek criminal charges for the robberies in their respective jurisdictions.