Friday, December 16, 2011

Robber foiled by coffee pot

Robber foiled by coffee pot

Robber foiled by coffee pot, Police are looking for a would-be robber who they say tried to climb in through the drive-through window of a coffee shop. Workers fought back, but the man didn’t retreat to an allegedly stolen car until he was beaned by a coffee pot.After fighting off an attempted robbery last weekend, workers at the Duluth Godfather’s Pizza on London Road have discovered a newfound closeness.

Call it bonding by fear.

"We’re like a family now, and we take care of each other," said David Tyson, 24, who stood bravely between the pizza parlor’s cash register and a man believed to be armed last Saturday night.

According to a criminal complaint filed in St. Louis County District Court this week, five people — three men and two women — entered Godfather’s and ordered food at about 5 p.m.

Store manager Pete Boyechko said the group appeared intoxicated. He told them no food would be prepared unless they produced money to pay for it. When no one offered any cash, the group left the building, at 1623 London Road. Minutes later, however, they returned and attempted to write a check, but didn’t produce proper identification.

The group left the restaurant again, but only for a short time. Soon, one man, identified as Maurice Antonio Garcia, 30, of Crystal, Minn., returned and began arguing with Tyson, the restaurant supervisor.

"The guy was pounding on the register and punched the soda fountain. David stepped in front of him," said Michelle McDonell, 18, who works at the restaurant with her brother, Joe. "The guy was right in his face. When the guy got the register open, David pushed him back and closed it. The guy was swinging his arms the whole time."
Meanwhile, Boyechko called 911 from a back office.

"I heard these smacks and I thought someone was getting hit," he said.

The noise was actually the cash register being struck.

According to restaurant workers and the criminal complaint, Garcia went behind the counter and after the cash register. He was yelling and swearing at Tyson.

Garcia also allegedly put his hand in his trousers, leading restaurant workers to believe he was armed with either a gun or knife. It turned out he had no weapon.

Tension was high. There was no one else in the restaurant at the time.

"I thought one of us wasn’t going to go home that night," Boyechko said.

But Tyson, who has lived in Duluth for only a few months, stood his ground and pushed Garcia away, preventing a potential robbery.

During the altercation, another man in the group re-entered the store and tried to drag Garcia away. The two finally left, but were soon picked up by police, along with the three others in the group.

Police responded in force to the restaurant with at least nine squads.

"They were fortunate the police were in the immediate area and were able to respond quickly," said Sgt. Eric Rish of the Duluth Police Department.

The police presence was a huge relief to the five Godfather’s workers on duty that night.

"When I saw the police lights, my stress level went way down," a relieved Boyechko said.
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