PASADENA (CBSLA) — An ex-con pleaded not guilty Thursday in an armed robbery at Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles in Pasadena that was allegedly triggered when he refused to wear a face covering.

Steve Carlos Williams, 43, of Duarte, is charged with two counts each of second-degree robbery and assault with a firearm, along with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

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Steve Williams, seen in security footage wearing a dark blue shirt, was first asked by the cashier to put on a face covering as required by local health orders. (CBSLA)

The criminal complaint alleges that Williams has six prior convictions dating back to 2003.

Williams, seen in security footage wearing a dark blue shirt, was first asked by the cashier on Feb. 3 to put on a face covering as required by local health orders.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you come over here and tell me to my face,'” Robert Gonzalez, a cook, said. “And he told him again, ‘Just put a mask on,’ and then that’s when he got mad and pulled out a gun, I guess.”

Williams then went back toward the kitchen where Gonzalez said the man pointed a gun at him and demanded that Gonzalez put all of the chicken in the bag.

When asked for clarification about whether the armed man meant money or food, Gonzalez said, “They ain’t got no money in the kitchen.”

There was plenty of chicken in the kitchen, but no bag, so the man grabbed a couple of takeout orders that had already been prepared while the employees ran out the back of the building.

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“I understand our chicken is good, but, I mean, that’s some expensive chicken he’s got there,” Gonzalez said. “It was just pretty stupid and crazy at the same time.”

None of the employees were harmed in the incident.

Police were dispatched to the location after the suspect fled the scene in a dark-colored, four-door sedan, she said.

Williams was subsequently arrested in connection with unrelated charges, according to Gordon. He has remained behind bars since then, jail records show.

The criminal complaint alleges that Williams has previous convictions for burglary, unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, drug offenses, a weapon offense and grand theft.

He is due back in a Pasadena courtroom on April 22.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)