Facing down the barrel of a robber's handgun, the owner of a Greenvale diner knocked the weapon out of the bandit's hand before chasing him down a road and holding him for police, officials said.
The suspect, Andrew Barnard, 23, of Glen Head, got no money from the cash register at Greenvale Townhouse Diner Restaurant, and was arrested later on a felony attempted robbery charge, Nassau County police said yesterday.
The restaurant's burly owner, Fereos "Savas" Theosevis, who said he'd served in the Greek army and has run the eatery for nearly three decades, said it was about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a man approached the register, opened his jacket and aimed the gun.
Theosevis said the gunman then said "Look, just don't talk, listen, gimme all the money, or without it you're a dead meat." Theosevis, 54, who lives in Garden City, waited until a split-second moment when the weapon was pointed away so it wasn't aimed at anyone before moving to disarm the suspect.
"I knew the guy needed the money desperately because he started shaking," Theosevis said.
Police said the two men struggled and Barnard managed to break free of Theosevis' grip and flee out the door of the diner, at 49 Glen Cove Rd.
Theosevis stuffed the gun, which had fallen to the counter, in his own pocket and gave chase. Outside, Theosevis was joined by a witness. Together they chased Barnard to Glen Cove Road and Cedar Street, where Theosevis tackled Barnard from behind, police said.
He said Barnard pleaded, "Make sure you don't kill me."
Police said the weapon turned out to be a BB gun.
Officials said Barnard, who was handed over to Sixth Precinct officers and was also charged with hypodermic needle and weapons possession, has a history of drug and robbery arrests, records show. He was taken to Glen Cove Hospital after Wednesday's robbery attempt and will be arraigned when medically possible, police said.