A man who said he felt guilty about robbing a bank drank himself into a stupor, then confessed the crime to employees at a local restaurant, authorities said Monday.
Police summoned to a Claim Jumper Restaurant in Santa Ana arrested Michael Carl Hallgren, 45, on suspicion of robbing a Wells Fargo branch Dec. 20.
"It's a very unusual situation," said Sgt. Raul Luna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department. "In my 28 years, I haven't seen this. . . . He doesn't appear to be your typical everyday bank robber."
Hallgren was very polite during his arrest, Luna said.
The arrest happened about 6 p.m. Sunday after Hallgren, a Santa Ana resident, walked into the restaurant and ordered a porterhouse. Midway through the meal, manager Chris Doering said, the man, who appeared to be drunk, stumbled from his seat and collapsed on the floor of the restaurant bar.
"We called 911," Doering said, "and while he was on the floor, he started telling us how bad he felt about robbing a bank and that he wanted to turn himself in. We thought he was wacko."
Among other things, the manager recalled, Hallgren said he had learned how to rob banks from watching television, had not used a gun in the robbery and had been drinking steadily since the beginning of the new year, nearly 24 hours earlier.
"I kind of thought he was joking around until the police came back and said he had a large amount of money on him," Doering said.
The officers, who arrived with paramedics responding to the 911 call, would not say how much money Hallgren was carrying. Luna said the amount taken from the Wells Fargo on Main Street was less than $2,000.
Hallgren was being held Monday at the Orange County Jail, with arraignment set for today.
And what of the restaurant tab? "The police said he couldn't pay for it because the money wasn't his," Doering said.