PORT ST. LUCIE — Police on Thursday arrested a man suspected Tuesday of tearfully robbing a Payless store in the 10900 block of South U.S. 1 before leaving in what was thought to be an older model, four-door Mercedes or Lexus, records show.
Matthew James Peterson, 29, of the 400 block of Nettles Boulevard in Jensen Beach, faces an armed robbery charge in connection with the 6:35 p.m. Tuesday incident.
Port St. Lucie police said the robber initially picked up a set of size 12 shoes to buy. He started to apologize to the clerk, saying "he needed $100 to give to a guy he owed or he would be killed within the hour and the guy was in the car with a gun," police records state.
The accused robber, who wore latex gloves and a camouflage hat, was crying and appeared nervous, police said. His voice quavered. The man said he had a gun, but the clerk saw no firearm. A victim gave him $85.
He left in an older model Mercedes or Lexus with four doors and a moon roof. The vehicle was thought to be maroon or red with tan panels on the bottom of the doors.
A search of the neighboring area turned up a black, two-tone Mercedes registered to Peterson with two latex gloves "in plain view."
Peterson denied involvement and said he let a man known to him as "John" borrow his vehicle at the time of the robbery. He said his friend, "Ali," could confirm the account. Police spoke to "Ali," who denied Peterson's account and said he didn't know who "John" is.
A victim was shown a photo lineup and identified Peterson.
Peterson continued denying involvement, police said.
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