Police: Papa John's employee puts would-be robber in headlock

Police: Papa John's employee puts would-be robber in headlock (Reporter: Amanda Brannon)

WINTERVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Police said a man armed with a BB gun tried to rob a Papa John's store in Winterville Wednesday night. But a store employee was able to take the suspect down.

Graham Rouse, 21, of Ayden, made his first court appearance Thursday morning on charges of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault by pointing a gun, and simple assault. The judge told Rouse he could get nearly 18 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

According to investigators, Rouse used a BB gun to try and rob the Papa John's location at the 600 block of W  Fire Tower Rd. It happened at about 9 p.m.

But a Papa John's employee was able to put Rouse in a headlock and held him until officers arrived, police said. However, they don't recommend confronting a suspect in that manner.

"It's actually very dangerous for the employees to interact with a suspect like that because they could get hurt," said Lt. Scott Raby of the Winterville Police Department.

Both Winterville Police and Greenville Police responded to the scene. Pitt Community College officers helped as well.

No one was injured in the incident, investigators said.

Rouse's next court date is scheduled for May 23. He told the judge he planned to hire his own attorney.

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