GAINSEVILLE, Florida. According to the arrest report, the Florida man charged with armed robbery did not have a pistol, but he did have a weapon-like hand shape.
Police say Steven Michael Berlin went to the Szechuan Palace restaurant located in Gainesville. He sat in the restaurant for about 30 minutes and then walked over to the counter. The restaurant worker told the Berlin police that he then raised his right hand towards her “in a pose she thought resembled a pistol, hand in hand. fist, thumb pointing up, index and second fingers pointing straight. ”
The victim believed that Berlin might have a real weapon and feared for her life. She followed his demands by opening the cash drawer where he took the money, the police report said. The suspect then left the store.
The victim later told the police that she was afraid to pick up the phone after the suspect left, “because she thought the accused would come back and shoot her.”
The police found Berlin just three blocks from the restaurant. When an officer approached him, Berlin “spontaneously confessed to the robbery, almost immediately after contact.” Officers say they also returned $ 577 from his possession.
Berlin, 56, is now facing charges of robbery with deadly weapons because he “deliberately made the victim fear serious injury or even death.”