Man arrested in robbery attempt at Washington restaurant

March 6, 2013
Rodney Gazzam

A former Allegheny County man was arrested Wednesday night after employees of a Chinese restaurant tackled him during a robbery attempt, Washington police said.

Rodney Gazzam, 24, formerly of South Park but who is currently homeless, was arrested by Washington police after he allegedly tried to rob How Lee in Jefferson Court Plaza on West Chestnut Street just before 8 p.m.

City police Sgt. C.J. Martin said Gazzam walked behind the counter and grabbed $79 from the register. The employees of the restaurant yelled, and Gazzam was tackled by them and the owner, Martin said.

“They had him down, and when we got there, we put him in handcuffs,” Martin said.

Gazzam is suspected of stealing items from a CVS store at 125 W. Beau St. minutes before the robbery. Police said he was found with a cookies-and-cream candy bar that might have been stolen from the store.

Earlier Wednesday, Gazzam is suspected of stealing a cellphone from a resale shop in the 100 block of South Main Street in Washington. He had the phone on him when he was taken into custody Wednesday night, Martin said.

Gazzam was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller on charges of robbery, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was placed in the Washington County jail on $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for March 15 before District Judge Robert Redlinger.

Martin said Gazzam faces additional charges to be filed at a later date.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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