Banana 'gun' eaten after holdup

Sunday, May 17, 2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Authorities in North Carolina say a store owner and a patron thwarted a teen accused of trying to carry out a robbery by concealing a banana beneath his shirt to resemble a gun.

Winston-Salem authorities said 17-year-old John Szwalla entered the Internet cafe Thursday and demanded money, saying he had a gun.

The owner, Bobby Ray Mabe, said he and a customer jumped Szwalla, holding him until deputies arrived. While they waited, Mabe says the teen ate the banana.

Mabe says deputies took pictures of the peel. Forsyth County Sheriff's office spokesman Maj. Brad Stanley said deputies joked about charging Szwalla with destroying evidence.

Szwalla faces a charge of attempted armed robbery. Jail officials say he doesn't have an attorney.

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