Robbery suspect scared off by pizzeria owner holding a knife

NANAIMO – RCMP catch suspect a few minutes after robbery attempt on Cousin Nick's pizza restaurant.

It’s probably never a good idea to bring bear spray to a potential knife fight.

Nanaimo Mounties have Patrick John Desroche, 21, in custody after he allegedly tried and failed to rob Cousin Nick’s pizza restaurant.

Desroche is accused of entering the restaurant, at 21 Front St., at about 1 a.m. Saturday, with a can of bear spray and a shirt pulled over his head.

The clerk on duty happened to be the business owner and when Desroche saw the large pizza knife the owner was holding he discharged the bear spray and ran off empty handed.

Police caught Desroche a few minutes after the robbery attempt and he’s being held in custody until he appears in Nanaimo provincial court Sept. 29 to face charges of attempted robbery, assault with a weapon and disguise with intent.

Several customers in the restaurant were affected by the bear spray, but did not require hospitalization.

“Investigators have looked at other recent unsolved armed robberies and do not believe Desroche is linked to them,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “Those files remain open and are being actively investigated.”