Man throws register, then throws punches at Pittsburg bakery over COVID rules

Surveillance video shows a man who destroyed a Pittsburg bakery and attacked employees after managers said he was previously banned for not following COVID-19 protocols.

Family-owned franchise Starbread, located in a plaza off Harbor Street, is an East Bay favorite with lots of tasty treats. It has become even more popular following last week’s violent incident.

Cameras captured an employee getting punched at least twice by an irate customer. The owner was also hurt and is suffering from a fractured hand and broken finger.

"It just broke my heart," said customer Maggie Wise who brought flowers and bought boxes of Señorita bread. "These are great people and I don’t like seeing it happen in my community."

Video shows a man in an Army T-shirt approaching the counter, shoving the register, throwing the credit card machine, and smashing the donut display.

"I was shocked," manager Jesse Sanchez said. "Something like this doesn’t normally happen, in our store especially."

Managers tell KTVU the man was booted from the business around the holidays for failing to socially distance from another customer. He was asked not to return.

But they said he did last Monday and was allowed to buy some bread, but reminded not to come back.

That’s when they say the man claimed his twin brother was to blame for previously not following the rules.

"I’m not sure if he has a twin brother or not, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt and even offered him a refund," Sanchez said.

Still, the man wasn’t satisfied and Sanchez said he demanded respect because he was in the military.

Within seconds, things escalated, and the man destroyed parts of the business before leaving only to return to scuffle with workers at the front door.

Several cameras show him punch one worker twice in the head and in the eye. That employee was also left badly scraped up, after getting caught in the door during the attack. The owner is in a cast for her arm, hand and pinky, following her injuries as she tried to keep the man back.

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Pittsburg police said there has not been an arrest, but this is an open and active investigation.

Starbread is considering a take-out window to better protect employees, especially with some fearing that the man could return.

"It hurts and it’s shocking because the community from Pittsburg to Antioch to Oakley to Brentwood – they’ve very supportive," Sanchez said. "We’re a family-based business. We try to make everybody feel comfortable with respect."

The community has responded donating money, sending well-wishes and buying up lots of bake goods, including its famous Señorita bread.

Many customers said Monday they hope someone can identify the man so he can be held accountable.

"Shame on him. What gives people the right to do that?" Wise said. "I’m so sorry that it happened."

Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU