Flood Warning issued September 21 at 8:56PM EDT expiring September 26 at 2:00PM EDT in effect for: Hillsborough
Employees at a Davenport pizzeria came face to face with a would-be robber last Friday and fought him off.
"At first I was frozen and didn't know what to think," Joshua Sawyer said.
Sawyer was simply trying to keep up with the Friday night rush when a man walked in to Pizzano's Pizza on California Boulevard.
Deputies say the man is Brandon Tarver and his robbery attempt was caught on several cameras inside the restaurant.
"The first thing going through my mind: It might have been a prank," Sawyer said.
Tarver tells the first employee he sees to open the registers, but she runs to the back of the store where Tarver and others were working.
The masked man follows, and threatens them with the knife, eventually grabbing Ascencion Lara as he walked out of the refrigerator.
"I wasn't phased by it originally because I had no idea that it was for real," Lara said.
He walks Lara up front to the registers and tries to get him to open it.
That's when the reality of the situation set in for Sawyer, who steps in even reaching for the robber's hand.
"My main focus was to try not to get him hurt. to try and get the blade and the focus on me. That's what was going through my mind," said Sawyer.
All this happened while more than a dozen people, including the restaurants owner, are in the dining room.
An employee went out to tell the owner what was happening and, at the same time, the would-be thief attempts to leave.
Sawyer tries to stop him again as others in the restaurant jump up, realizing what was going on.
What that video doesn't show is Tarver getting in his car and driving off, but not before Sawyer got a look at the car and part of the license plate.
Police caught him later that night and arrested him.
According to the arrest affidavit, Tarver told police he did it because he was behind on his car payments.