REDWOOD CITY -- A 52-year-old man charged with holding up a San Mateo bank was recognized by police and arrested after he called officers to his Burlingame hotel room for help, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Gerard Myer allegedly summoned police Monday to the Vagabond Inn on Bayshore Highway after his girlfriend appeared to have a seizure. But the Burlingame officers, in addition to helping the woman, recognized Myer from a photo San Mateo police circulated following the Oct. 1 robbery of a Wells Fargo bank, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Myer, who has no fixed address, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in San Mateo County Superior Court to one count of robbery and was being held in Redwood City in lieu of $50,000 bail.

The photo of the suspect didn't come from a surveillance camera, but rather an unlucky encounter with an observant store employee. Police said the man, who wore a wig and baseball cap, stopped to check his disguise in a reflective store window before the robbery.

An employee found the disguise odd enough that he took a photo of the man and gave it to detectives after the holdup of the Wells Fargo on East Fourth Street, police said. San Mateo investigators then passed the photo around to other police departments and also to the public.

By the time Myer called police to his hotel room the photo had already been circulating for several days. The officers arrested Myer and then got a warrant to search his room, where they found the disguise used in the robbery as well as $868 in cash, Wagstaffe said. The robber of the Wells Fargo allegedly got away with $7,721.


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Police said they also found in Myer's room a bomb detonator-looking device which had been used in the holdup. The robber allegedly wielded the silver detonator, which was complete with a red button, when he passed the bank clerk a note demanding money.

Though at first police said it might have been real, after they inspected the device closely it was declared a fake. Police also initially said the suspect's name was Gerald Myer.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.