You hear the story all the time. A man walks into a convenience store, points a gun at the clerk behind the counter and makes off with a fistful of cash, leaving behind a clerk who is shaking but grateful to be alive.
That story began to play out Wednesday night in Carrick at a Uni-Mart on Brownsville Road.
Only this time, the guy behind the counter was Tom Sayenga, who took matters into his own hands.
Police said Mr. Sayenga told them that as he was handing money over to the gunman, he grabbed the man's gun with his free hand and "piledrived" his face into the counter. Mr. Sayenga chambered a round in the gun and pointed the gun at the man and ordered him to leave, according to Pittsburgh robbery squad Detective Michael Chlystek.
Mr. Sayenga said the robbery suspect threw the money in the air and ran out of the store, leaving behind the gun, a 9 mm Beretta.
Later Wednesday, police arrested Joseph J. Caimi Jr., 31, a city firefighter, and charged him in the attempted robbery.
Police determined the gun was registered to Mr. Caimi and went to his house, in the 2200 block of Lucina Street, where they saw a man matching his description sitting with another man next door.
Police asked Mr. Caimi if he owned any guns, and he said he used to own three, but sold them all. Asked when he last saw his Beretta, he said: "Today. I already know what you're here for, but I'm not saying anything. I already know why you're here," Detective Chlystek wrote.
The neighbor was not involved in the robbery, according to the complaint, and told police Mr. Caimi came over and sat on his porch and seemed distraught.
Mr. Caimi has been charged with one felony count each of carrying a firearm without a license and robbery and one misdemeanor count each of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Pittsburgh fire Chief Darryl Jones said he's reviewing Mr. Caimi's status with the Fire Bureau and plans to get a detailed explanation of the charges before making a determination.
Chief Jones can then make a recommendation to Pittsburgh public safety director Michael Huss, who has the authority to terminate employees.
Mr. Sayenga could not be reached for comment.
Molly Born: email@example.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter @borntolede. First Published April 11, 2013 12:00 AM