Investigators in Spring Hill said the suspect, identified as Phillip Steinberg, wore a ski mask when he went into the Village Pizza eatery Wednesday, brandished a knife and demanded money, WTSP-TV, St. Petersburg, Fla., reported Friday.
Steinberg left after being twice refused by the clerk and an employee got a look at his face when he removed his ski mask in the parking lot.
A motorist who saw Steinberg remove his mask became suspicious and followed the car he was driving while on the phone with 911. Deputies arrived at the home where the 1996 Mitsubishi was parked in the driveway and the owner of the car told police he had loaned the vehicle to Steinberg for a trip to the liquor store.
The owner said Steinberg told him he had removed the license plate from the car because he matched the description of a robbery suspect and didn't want to be mistaken for the perpetrator.
Police said they found the ski mask inside the car and the knife used in the crime was discovered inside the house.
Steinberg was arrested on a charge of armed robbery.