The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a Wisemiller’s Deli panhandler Tuesday after he stole a Chicken Madness and threatened a cook and cashier during a 20-minute chase through Georgetown.

The alleged thief had been a regular panhandler outside the store every day for the past month, according to store clerk Helal Awadallah.

Awadallah, 25, said the man – described as around 5′ 11” and African-American – entered the store around 6 p.m., ordered a Chicken Madness and walked out without paying.

When Awadallah called after him to return, the man walked away.

Sana Malouf (COL `07) was walking by as the man was exiting, followed by Awadallah and a cook. “One of the Wisey’s guys who works behind the counter was yelling, `Call the police! Call the police!'”she said. The chase led Awadallah and a cook down 36th Street, through an alley and up a flight of stairs, according to Awadallah.

When the man brandished something resembling a knife, Awadallah and the cook tried persuading him to return to the store.

But he allegedly became more hostile and threw his Chicken adness at the employees.

That’s when Awadallah kicked the man’s foot from behind and stole his shoe.

“We were playing monkey in the middle for a little while with his shoe,” he said.

When the shoe fell short on one throw, the man headed toward Wisconsin Avenue with Awadallah and the cook behind him.

At one point, he pulled an empty Snapple bottle from a dumpster and threatened the employees with it. The bottle broke in his hands right before MPD arrested him on 37th and Prospect Streets at around 6:15 p.m.

No trial date has been set for the alleged thief, who will be charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and theft, according to MPD Sergeant Charles Hall.

“Georgetown students contribute to the disease of [the panhandlers] sitting around and being lazy,” Awadallah said. “They make them think it’s OK to just watch the pretty girls and talk to people all day long.”

Awadallah said he has caught panhandlers in the past buying alcohol for students and selling drugs.

Three years ago one threatened to blow up Wisey’s, causing a frenzy of law enforcement and federal agents to descend on the store. The man was banned from returning and the sub thief will likely face the same, Awadallah said.

In the meantime, Awadallah said he and his brother Ehab will continue keeping a close eye on customers – especially since a lot of times distracted students just forget to pay.

“The other day a girl walked in here talking on a cell phone, grabbed a Starbucks Frapuccino, started drinking it and walked out,” he recalled. Awadallah yelled after her, and realized she had just been completely distracted.

“Sometimes you get those people who just don’t pay attention and we don’t make a big deal out of it.” he said.

But deliberate theft, he said, is a different story.

In the case of the $5.95 Chicken Madness, it was the principle of the matter: “Today it’s a sub, tomorrow a beer,” he said. “It’s about preventing something worse from happenening.”

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