An employee at a gas station in New Haven fought off a would-be robber who was armed with a knife Monday night.
According to police, David Nielsen, 33, of Meriden entered the Shell Food Mart on Willow Street wearing a white chef coat with one hand in his pocket. After asking for a pack of cigarettes, Nielsen pulled out a knife and tried to stab the clerk.
The two struggled for a brief period of time before Nielson ran away. At one point during the struggle, the man had the knife at the employee's throat.
Outside the store, the employee followed the suspect and screamed at him. He even grabbed Nielsen and held him.
"His pants broke loose," said store owner Gerry Katz, who assisted the employee during the struggle.
Police were able to arrest Nielsen a short time later.
Nielsen, who has been previously arrested for possession of narcotics, was charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, carrying a dangerous weapon, second-degree criminal attempt to commit assault and second-degree assault of an elderly person.
Police said Nielsen previously robbed Jay-Nez Groceries, at 227 Ferry St. He is also suspected of two similar robberies in Milford, according to police.
Nielsen appeared in New Haven Superior Court Tuesday. He is being held on $200,000 bond and will be back in court on Nov. 6.
Katz said he acted out of instinct and did not realize the danger he was in.
"Police were telling me it is like an adrenaline rush," he said.
The Shell Food Mart has had several robberies in recent years. However, this is the first time that the store employees have assisted in the arrest.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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