May 18, 2009

Would-be robber armed with banana

A North Carolina cafe owner said he tackled a robber who claimed to be armed and discovered the man only had a banana -- then the robber ate the evidence.

Bobby Ray Mabe, owner of the 109 Biz Center computer cafe in Winston-Salem, said he had just paid out $2,000 to a sweepstakes winner Thursday when a man holding something under his shirt asked for a Mountain Dew and demanded the small amount of cash he had left in the business, the Winston-Salem Journal reported Monday.

It just flew all over me, and before I knew it, I had my hands on him, he said.

Mabe said he and one of his customers grabbed the man and held him down on a chair.

If he had had a gun he would've shot me, Mabe said yesterday. But he had a banana.

The business owner said the suspect ate the banana before Forsyth County sheriff's deputies arrived.

And the deputy said, 'Aha! He ate the evidence,' Mabe said. But we had the banana peel, and they took a picture of it.

Deputies arrested John Steven Szwalla, 17, and charged him with attempted robbery. He was also charged with common-law robbery for an incident that allegedly took place the same day at a Kangaroo Express store.