Moscow Police believe the suspect in this morning’s armed robbery at Pizza Hut made out with at least $2,000 from the restaurant safe before being arrested shortly after in a nearby residential area.
Police Chief David Duke said a male employee in the restaurant was held at gunpoint by a man with a handgun wearing a mask and dark hoodie after responding to a knock at the door around 10 a.m. The man, identified by police as Richard Presley, 24, of Moscow, allegedly gestured to the employee to open the safe once inside, Duke said. The safe has a time delay and, while it was in the process of opening, two female employees arrived and were also allegedly detained by Presley and locked in a walk-in refrigerator with the other employee. An employee then contacted law enforcement.
“We did receive a 911 call that indicated that people were locked inside the Pizza Hut there,” Duke said, adding of the robbery, “We don’t know the exact amount of money. We’re thinking it’s somewhere between $2,000 and $2,500.”
When officers arrived, they observed Presley heading south toward Angry Bear where he is alleged to have dropped a backpack when approached, said Duke, adding it was filled with a large amount of cash, receipts, a pellet gun that looked like a semi-automatic pistol and ski mask, Duke said. Officers pursued the suspect along Travois Way and he was finally apprehended between the Mormon church and Pinecone Road.
Duke said Presley was stunned with a Taser when he turned toward an officer with something black in his hand, which turned out to be a cellphone.
Pizza Hut made the most money in its history Monday night when it hosted the The Sonia Todd FUNdraiser Day. Todd is a mother of two who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“It was amazing,” said Al Bettencourt, Pizza Hut general manager. “We actually broke our single day sales record.”
The restaurant averages $2,000 in sales on Mondays, he said, but brought in $6,400 during the fundraiser. Pizza Hut contributes 20 percent of its pretax total toward fundraisers it hosts, said Bettencourt. Customers bring in a fundraiser flier released by the restaurant, which is attached to their bill.
The restaurant remains closed but plans to reopen later today, and customers are encouraged to call ahead. Pizza Hut can be reached at (208) 882-0444.