Would-be robber nabbed by IPD after restaurant staff fend off his robbery attempts

September 17, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

A man who tried to rob the Taste of Thai Express restaurant on Tuesday evening is in custody after police tracked him down based on a clear description from restaurant staff. The Ithaca Police Department says 34-year-old Peter J. Bennedum tried to rob the restaurant at knifepoint, but left empty-handed.

Taste of Thai Express on South Meadow Street.Taste of Thai Express on South Meadow Street.IPD public information officer Jamie Williamson says they were dispatched to the restaurant, on Meadow Street in Ithaca's west end, at about 8:35pm on Tuesday. Restaurant employees say a man had entered the eatery, pointed a knife at the cashier near the entrance, and demanded all the money from the cash register.

When the cashier refused to hand over the money from the register, the robber grabbed a tip jar from the counter, but another employee snatched it from his hands. The robber fled the restaurant, and employees called 911.

Responding officers got a description from the staff, who said the would-be robber was a thin white male, looking frail and wrapped in a blanket, and soon found a man fitting the description a few blocks away. Restaurant staff positively identified the man they found, Peter Bennedum, as the culprit.

Peter Bennedum. Photo provided by IPD.Peter Bennedum. Photo provided by IPD.Mr. Bennedum was arraigned in Ithaca City Court on charges of robbery in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and remanded to jail on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bail bond.

As a general rule, police advise employees at businesses not to resist a robber with a weapon. IPD's Officer Williamson declined to comment on the restaurant staff's choice.

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