Would-be thief made up sob story that got him pizza

A 35-year-old Montana man walked into a pizza place with the intention of robbing it. His mind changed, he spun a story about a made-up family and received free pizza from the clerk.

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana man whose tearful reluctance to rob a pizza restaurant earned him free food apparently made up the sob story that gained him the clerk's sympathy.

David Randall Lacey, 35, entered a Papa John's pizza restaurant on Jan. 22 with a bandanna over his face and gave the clerk a note demanding money, Helena police said. He broke down crying and told the clerk he needed the money to support his wife and children, who were hungry. The clerk made him a large pepperoni pizza and some chicken wings as he waited, and the man left.

The Independent Record reports an investigation found that Lacey has no children in Helena and changed his story when he saw how little money was in the cash register — just $24.56, according to a police report.

Police received a tip that Lacey acknowledged his role in the incident, and a clerk picked him out of a lineup. He was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony robbery. He remained jailed Friday with bail set at $25,000.

Lacey told police he needed the money to buy food, court records said.

Original story: Crying thief declines money, accepts pizza for hungry family

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