Robber flees after taking $600 from pizza carryout Owner plans to change cash-handling policies

December 11, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

Happy House Pizza, a small carryout pizza restaurant in an Edgewater strip mall, has changed its cash-handling policies after a masked robber, who appeared to be a teen-ager, held up the business with a popgun Tuesday, grabbing $600 cash from the register.

"We don't keep a lot of money in the register anymore," said Paul Marzullo, 58, who has owned the pizzeria with his wife for about 1 1/2 years.

"I don't let my employees handle money," he said yesterday. "Right now, I'm the only one who can ring up anything. Me and the day manager."

The robbery in the 100 block of Mayo Road occurred about 8: 50 p.m. Tuesday when a youth in a red mask charged into the store while the clerk, Natalie Weitzel, 18, was helping another customer.

"He came in and hollered, 'It's a holdup,' " the owner said. "At first, the staff thought it was a joke."

The robber then yelled at Weitzel to hand over the money, but she fled to a back room. When no one gave him immediate attention, he fired a shot.

"It was [possibly] a cap gun. It wasn't a real gun," Marzullo said.

While the cash register was unattended, "one of my other help saw him pulling all of the money out of the register," Marzullo said.

Apparently, the robber figured out how to open the cash register, reached over, grabbed the money and ran out of the store with about $600.

Marzullo chased the robber, who fled in a small, dark-colored car without license plate lights. Marzullo then called 911. Police were unable to find the robber.

"I should never leave that much money in there," Marzullo said. "I guess I learned a lesson."

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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