Wilmington man sentenced for robbing Carraba’s Italian Grill, forcing employees into closet

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Cornelius Riley was sentenced to 97 months in prison for robbing a local restaurant (Photo: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man has been sentenced to more than 8 years (97 month) in prison for armed robbery of a local restaurant.

62-year-old Cornelius Riley robbed Carrabba’s Italian Grill on November 20, 2020 just before midnight.

Riley arrived at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Wilmington after it was closed to the public and encountered an employee exiting the restaurant after finishing their shift. He showed a firearm and forced his way into the restaurant where he forced the employees to open the safe and empty cash drawers.

Riley also demanded the security footage, but when the CD wouldn’t eject, he unhooked the recorder and threw it on the ground. Riley then forced the employees into a closet where he told them to wait.

When officers responded, they saw the Riley attempting to exit the restaurant with multiple items in his hands, however, when he saw police, he ran back inside. After a short standoff, Riley exited the restaurant and was placed under arrest. In a search incident to arrest, officers located approximately $490 that belonged to the restaurant.

When officers searched the restaurant, they located a .22 caliber pistol in a trashcan, a pair of vinyl gloves, and a closed zipper bank bag containing $1,900.

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