Police said Quinton Walker had just made off with $1,800 from robbing the Bank of America just a couple of doors down from Nikolloj's Winter Park pizzeria and was trying to escape.
Nikolloj, owner of Giovanni's Italian Restaurant in Winter Park, said the red cloud streaming out of Walker's pocket, which came from the dye pack inside the stolen cash, gave Walker away.
Workers said they think Walker was trying to escape through the back door of the restaurant, but it was blocked by a delivery man, so he turned around and darted out the front door.
An exploding dye pack made it look like Walker had red exhaust fumes trailing him, choking customers and employees in the restaurant, Nikolloj said.
After seeing and recognizing the red cloud for what it was, Nikolloj said he decided to chase after Walker.
"The smoke started billowing out of his pocket," said Giovanni's pizza maker Ottie Adkins.
Adkins said he was walking out of the restaurant only to do a double take.
He had just breezed by a guy strolling into the pizzeria with clouds of red dye billowing from his pants.
"I was like 'Why would someone attack a pizza restaurant?'" Adkins said.
Adkins returned to see what was going on after the robber exited the restaurant.
"All the sudden I got a huge whiff of smoke and my eyes started watering and I started coughing and gagging," said Adkins.
"It's not every day smoke comes out of someone's pants while he's walking through the store," said Nikolloj. "To be honest with you, I thought it was a terrorist attack."
The chase didn't go far before Nikolloj was able to capture the man.
The owner said the red-dye robber cleared the air.
"He said, 'I didn't mean to do anything to you, I robbed a bank!' At that point, I'm like 'Wow. I have a bank robber in my hands.' When does that happen?" Nikolloj said.
Nikolloj said that Walker told him, "I'm unarmed. I just robbed the bank because I'm homeless and I don't have a job."
He held Walker until police arrived.
Winter Park's police chief just honored Nikolloj's heroics.
The pizzeria owner said he'll stick to tossing the dough, not stopping robbers from stealing it.
"It was crazy," said Nikolloj.
Adkins said, "This is the last place I would probably run to if I robbed a bank. We've got a bunch of dudes in here. We've got knives."
Police said Walker's greed got him into this mess.
The teller initially gave him more than $1,700, but he asked for more. That's when she handed him $80 with the exploding dye pack in it