Police: White Man Wearing Black Face Paint Injured During Botched Business Robbery

Bobby Clay Benson

A suspect and patron inside a Smithfield business were injured during a bizarre botched robbery attempt.  The incident was reported Thursday night at Heidi’s Two Wheel Cafe at 1475 W. Market Street in West Smithfield.

Police said the suspect, Bobby Clay Benson of Woodard Road, Princeton, was wearing black paint on his face in an attempt to conceal his identity.

Smithfield Police allege Benson parked his pickup truck near the cafe and around 9:20pm walked up to the business and found an employee outside.

Benson reportedly forced the employee back inside and verbally demanded money.  The suspect was apparently startled by the number of customers and employees inside the business when he entered.   A patron approached Benson, at which time the suspect used his elbow striking the patron in the nose causing an injury.

Benson allegedly fell once while at the business, and as he fled on foot towards his truck, he attempted to jump over a ditch and fell again.  During one of the falls, police said he sustained a possible broken leg.

An off-duty officer happened to be near Heidi’s Two Wheel Cafe when the attempted robbery was reported.  He spotted Benson’s truck leaving the area at a high rate of speed and radioed officers who were ahead.  Police stopped the vehicle and arrested the 45 year-old man without further incident. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of a leg injury before being taken to the Johnston County Jail.

Police Captain R. Sheppard said Benson was charged with attempted common law robbery and second-degree kidnapping. No gun was used during the attempted robbery and kidnapping.

Bobby Clay Benson was booked into the Johnston County Jail this morning (Friday) under a $1 million bond.

Captain Sheppard told JoCoReport that more charges are anticipated.

The truck used in the getaway attempt was impounded.