WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) - Three men disguised as construction workers tried to rob a watch store in Walnut Creek, but the store owner pulled out a gun. The dramatic confrontation was caught on video.
Investigators say the fake construction worker look is a popular disguise for robbers.
Two men wearing hard hads, dust masks and yellow construction vests walked into the O.C. Watch Company last Thursday. A third man acted as a lookout.
One of the men handed store owner Kyle O'Connor his clipboard, asking him to sign off on some electrical work behind the store.
As O'Connor looks at the paperwork, the man suddenly sprays him and a customer with a chemical.
One of the men uses a baseball bat to smash a display case while the other tries to grab watches, but O'Connor pulls out his 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and scares the intruders out.
"So at that time, I made the decision within a split second. I just needed to draw my gun and I did. Cocked it. That's when gentlemen here turned and looked at me. I assumed he heard it and he fled very quickly," said Kyle O'Connor, the store owner.
Walnut Creek Police say the three men jumped into a newer model Dodge Challenger they had parked in a nearby alley. It looks blue in the video, but is actually black with silver rims and black paper plates.
O'Connor is still shocked by the ordeal. No shots were fired.
"Everybody's asking me, 'How did you do that? What was your prior training? Special forces? Army, Navy military police?' No, I just did it. That's just how I reacted. The one thing that did go through my head was, 'Don't shoot.' As in me, don't pull the trigger," O'Connor said.
It's quite common to see people wearing construction or safety vests these days so much so that crooks are trying to blend in.
In March, a man dressed as a construction worker robbed a bank around the corner from the watch store and was later arrested.
"I think it's ingenious because we would just look at them as normal construction people, normal people walking through the streets. For them, i think it's very, very smart. For us, it's dangerous," said Nancy Bennett a Walnut Creek resident.