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Off-duty deputy thwarts Cassano’s robbery

A Yellow Springs man suspected of robbing a restaurant while an off-duty deputy was ordering dinner there pleaded not guilty to the charge on Monday.

Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Leasure said he noticed the suspected robber, 20-year-old Keida Johnson, wearing his hood in a vehicle next to him as he pulled into the parking lot with his family at Cassano’s Pizza, 901 N. Bechtle Ave., about 7 p.m. Sunday.

After ordering his dinner, Leasure said the suspect entered the restaurant and approached the cashier.

“As I backed away he was standing there beside me with his hood still over his head, which raised immediate suspicion to me,” Leasure said.

Johnson is accused of approaching the counter with a bag, and yelling and demanding money.

“I couldn’t believe what was going on,” Leasure said.

Leasure’s wife called 9-1-1 from outside of the restaurant. According to a recording of the call, Deputy Leasure exited the restaurant and retrieved his wife’s gun — she told dispatchers she had a conceal carry permit — from their vehicle.

He then entered the restaurant, identified himself, ordered Johnson to the ground and held him there until Springfield Police Division officers arrived.

Johnson was charged with robbery and pleaded not guilty in court on Monday morning. Johnson’s bond was set at $10,000.

Leasure said his main concern was keeping the situation calm and safe. He has always thought about this type of situation, but he said it was the first time it had happened to him.

“It’s always in the back of your mind,” Leasure said. “It’s kind of surreal until it happens. You don’t expect it to happen in that manner.”

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