Sometimes police work is about being in the right place at the right time.
Such was the case for Transit Police officer Matthew Donovan, a 29-year-old Tewksbury resident.
On Saturday, Jan. 5, at around 5:30 p.m., Donovan entered a Dunkin Donuts at 99 Cambridge St. in Charlestown and came across a robbery in progress.
According to his report, Donovan initially heard a man, later identified as Michael Wallace, 35, formerly of Medford, screaming at the cashiers that they hadn't given him enough change and saw him leaning over the counter in a threatening manner. Donovan, who was in uniform and on duty, stepped in to defuse the situation.
Wallace calmed down but Donovan wrote that the cashier told him the situation was actually a robbery.
"He showed me a knife from his pocket and said to give me all the money in the register," the cashier said, according to Donovan's report.
According to Donovan, Wallace then reached for something in his right pocket and Donovan physically subdued him, handcuffed him and called for backup.
It turned out that what Wallace had allegedly indicated was a knife was actually a spoon.
According to Donovan, the cashier told him that when Wallace had demanded all the money, she slammed the register shut and backed away from him. She said Wallace reached over the counter and began pushing buttons on the register, trying to open it. She told Donovan that when other customers started entering the store, including Donovan, Wallace began pretending he was demanding more change from a purchase.
Wallace was placed under arrest and charged with attempted armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.
During a search of Wallace, a male dress sock was found that was filled with several articles of women's jewelry. An investigation into the source of those items is ongoing.
Officer Donovan is a U.S. Military veteran, having served a tour of duty in Iraq. He graduated from the MBTA Transit Police Academy in 2010.