EAST HARLEM — A fearless bodega worker used a tangle of wires to whip a pepper mill-wielding attacker who tried to rob the store, police and the employee said.
Terrance Gilford, 40, walked into La Paloma Candy and Grocery at 1862 Lexington Ave. on March 1 around 11:35 p.m. and began threatening the employee, police and prosecutors said.
The cashier on duty at the time, Mar Qutaina, 29, said the suspect walked into the store while it had a line of several customers and approached his Plexiglass-protected counter demanding cash.
“He was like, 'I have a knife,’” Qutaina told DNAinfo New York.
“I didn’t believe him until he went over there with a knife and tried to break it,” he said, referring to a side door that leads behind the counter.
“He was like, ‘Gimme credit,” Qutaina continued. “I was surprised. I was like, 'what do you mean, gimme credit?'”
Video surveillance from the store shows Gildford pacing and then trying to push his way behind the counter. When he tried to climb over the counter, Qutaina said he used a braid of wires to whip him.
The suspect also had a pepper mill in his pocket that he used to strike the cashier on the hand, causing a cut, authorities said.
Qutaina said customer eventually called police, who arrived and arrested the would-be robber, who was found with the knife and pepper mill in his coat pocket, officials said.
He was charged with attempted robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. His was set at $7,500 cash and $15,000 bond.
His next court date is March 28.
Gilford’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.