Police said Keithan Manuel, 18, entered the Police Department building in Wilmer, Texas, near Dallas, Saturday evening with a towel covering his hands and a demand for money.
"A young man walked into the lobby and approached the dispatch window and told our communications officer, 'Give me all your money,'" is how Police Chief Victor Kemp described the incident.
Manuel did not have a weapon, but dispatcher Patrice Hughey said Manuel told her, "You know I have a gun, right?"
"She called for officers immediately. The officers arrived and were able to take him down at gunpoint," Kemp said.
Manuel, in Dallas County Jail on several charges, including burglary, claims he visited the police station seeking information on a warrant, and was joking about the holdup, telling KTVT-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth, "I play like that all the time. I didn't think she would take it seriously."
"You hear of those world's dumbest criminals every once in a while but you never think it's going to happen in your city," Kemp said.
Senate Democrats to pull all-nighter on climate change
Susan Sarandon 'very excited' about daughter's pregnancy