Attempted bank robbery foiled by pesky teller |

Attempted bank robbery foiled by pesky teller

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal From the seat of a police car, Tom Cottiero talks to Carson City sheriff's deputies after an alleged bank robbery attempt at the Nevada State Bank in Smith's grocery store on WIlliams Street on Friday.

An attempted bank robbery in a Carson City grocery store came to a standstill around noon Friday when the alleged perpetrator refused to remove his ski mask in defiance of an obstinate teller’s demands, according to police.

After being asked three or four times by the teller to take off the black mask, Dayton resident Tom Cottiero fled the Nevada State Bank branch inside the Smith’s grocery store on East William Street.

He then tried to make his getaway in a white Geo Prizm which was easily recognizable, investigators said, because one rear wheel was outfitted with a donut-style spare tire.

Cottiero got as far as the nearby AM PM convenience store parking lot, where witnesses saw him stashing a gray and white Nike jacket into a trash bin.

The masked bandit allegedly wielded a piece of paper demanding money, but it has yet to be recovered, according to Sgt. Mike Cullen of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.

It is not known if the suspect was armed during the robbery attempt.

“We found some screwdrivers and some funky stuff in his car,” said Cullen. “But at this point, we don’t know.”

Friday’s attempt comes on the heels of a recent string of similar grocery store bank robberies in the area.

Police were unsure whether Cottiero was responsible for the earlier bank robberies or whether it was a copycat crime. An investigation is under way.

Cottiero was taken into custody and charged with attempted robbery.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at or 881-1215.