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Elderly woman armed with frying pan thwarts attempted robbery

An elderly Nathalie woman, armed with a cast iron frying pan, thwarted a would-be robber Saturday evening after he pushed his way into her home on Rabat Road.

Benjamin Charles Desmond, 19, of Nathalie has been charged with attempted robbery and two felony charges of kidnapping, stemming from an incident that occurred Dec. 22 on Rabat Road, according to Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark.

Additional charges are pending against Desmond in the Saturday incident, he added.

Clark, along with Deputy Field Cross, responded to a report of an 84-year-old Rabat Road resident being the victim of an attempted robbery around 5:30 p.m. 

“She told us a male wearing a bandana on his face knocked on her door and told her he was selling cookies,” Clark said.

When she opened the door, the suspect allegedly brandished and firearm pushing his way into the house and demanding money.

“She started yelling,” the sheriff said. Standing next to a stove, the elderly woman picked up a cast iron frying pan.

“She told him ‘boy, get out of here, or I’m going to hit you with this frying pan,”’ the sheriff said.

The suspect ran out the door and fled on Rabat Road, he added.

A caretaker for the elderly woman responded to the Rabat Road residence while authorities were conducting their investigation and told officers a similar incident had occurred at another residence on Rabat Road on Dec. 22 but had gone unreported.

Clark said further investigation revealed an earlier victim had been confronted by a suspect brandishing a firearm and fitting the same description as given by the elderly woman on Saturday.

The victim of the Dec. 22 incident told officers he gave the suspect, who was wearing a bandana, $20 from a Bible. However, when the suspect demanded his wallet, the victim told authorities he was unable to find it, and the suspect shot him in the arm with a pellet gun.

The victim showed authorities his arm that bore the wound he had suffered in the shooting during the Dec. 22 incident.

According to Clark, the victim did not seek treatment and did not report the incident to authorities.

After further investigation, the sheriff said Desmond, a resident of Matt’s Trail, was charged with two counts of abduction and one count of robbery stemming from the Dec. 22 incident. He is being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail with no bond and is a suspect in the Saturday attempted robbery of the elderly Nathalie woman.