Florida Woman Stops Robbery by Laughing at Crook and Saying No

Laughter is the best medicine, and in this case it might have been the best crime deterrent.

Phillip Steinberg attempted to rob a Village Pizza restaurant in Spring Hills, Florida, last Wednesday but was deterred after the female clerk laughed at him and told him no.

According to a release from the Hernando Sheriff's Office, Steinberg -- clad in a black ski mask, black gloves, jeans, a green shirt, and a denim vest -- entered the restaurant just after 8 p.m. He began brandishing a knife and asked the woman behind the counter for money.

The clerk apparently thought he was joking and laughed at him. She simply said "no" twice.

Steinberg gave up pretty easily and exited the store. He took off his ski mask and drove away in his small silver car. Another employee got a good look at his face.

Meanwhile, a passing motorist noticed the strange sight of a man taking off a ski mask in the middle of spring in Florida after exiting a business and decided something was fishy, so the driver followed the car while calling 911.

The driver tailed the car to a home, and police arrived. They found the owner of the car reattaching his license plate.

Apparently, Steinberg had borrowed the car from the owner and told him that he had gone to buy liquor. Steinberg also told the friend that the pizza store had been robbed by someone matching the owner's description.

The actual owner gave police permission to search his car and apartment and quickly found the clothes and knife. The employee then identified Steinberg as the incompetent thief. Steinberg was taken into custody less than 12 minutes after the botched robbery attempt.

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Kyle Munzenrieder