Financial Adviser Arrested for Throwing Drink at Employee, Other Customers Attack Employees

26 Jan, 2022 Liz Carey

                               

Fairfield, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) – A Connecticut man was arrested and later fired from his job as a financial planner after video of him throwing a drink at a smoothie shop employee surfaced. 

The suspect, James Iannazzo attacked the employees at a Robeks store after claiming his son had a severe allergic reaction to peanut butter put in the smoothie, Fairfield Police said. 

Police said Iannazzo picked up the smoothies on Saturday afternoon. Not long after picking up the smooties, Iannazzo called 911 to report a juvenile suffering from an allergic reaction. EMS transported the young man to the hospital. 

"A short time later, Iannazzo returned to Robeks and confronted employees, yelling at them and demanding to know who had made the smoothie which contained peanuts, causing his child's allergic reaction. When employees could not provide Iannazzo with the answer he became irate, yelling at the employees using a number of expletives," police said in a statement. 

In a video that has gotten over 25,000 views, Iannazzo is seen berating the employees in an expletive laden rant, and then throwing the smoothie at one of the employees, striking them in the shoulder. Employees ask Iannazzo to leave, but he refuses saying he won’t leave until they give him the phone number for their corporate headquarters. At one point, Iannazzo tries to go through an “Employees Only” door to get behind the counter. Employees block Iannazzo from coming in through the door. 

Ianazzo’s attorney, Frank Ricco, said Iannazzo had told employees at the store the smoothie could not contain peanuts. His receipt reflected that the order should not contain peanuts. But, Ricco said, Iannazzo reacted as a parent protecting his son. 

"When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr. lannazzo's parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear. He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress," attorney Frank J. Riccio said in a statement to CNN. 

Employees told police Iannazzo never told them about the peanut allergy, and only asked that there not be any peanut butter in the drink. 

Police said Iannazzo left the scene before they arrived, but that Iannazzo turned himself into the police later. He was charged with Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree, Breach of Peace in the Second Degree and Criminal Trespass in the First Degree. 

The smoothie chain said it stands by its employees.

"At Robeks, our priority is to protect both store team members and guests. The company and its franchisees have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior, and we are thankful that the franchisee's team members were not physically hurt," Robeks spokesperson Barbara Caruso said in a statement. "We appreciate the swift action by law enforcement and the judicial system in pursuing criminal charges for this unacceptable behavior." 

The attack was just one of several attacks on employees by customers in the past week. 

In St. Louis, a woman has been charged in the shooting of a McDonald’s employee over a French fry dispute. 

Police said Terika Clay, 30, of St. Louis, pulled up to the drive through of a McDonald’s in St. Louis and got into an argument with one of the employees over the price of French fries. Clay then threatened to shoot the employee. Later, the employee went on break and left the restaurant, where Clay was waiting for them. According to police, Clay came up to the victim and shot them. The employee was hospitalized with a minor wound, police said. 

Clay was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action and was being held on $150,000 bond. According to the police report, Clay is not permitted to make contact with or be within 1,000 feet of the victim or the restaurant. 

In Boston, an employee at a pizza restaurant suffered minor injuries after they were attacked by a customer who didn’t want to wear a mask, police said. 

Officers responded to the Regina Pizzeria in Boston’s North End around 9 p.m. on Sunday night. An employee told police that a customer had attempted to enter the restaurant without a face mask. When another employee told him he could not enter without a face mask, he pushed his way in saying he was “from the neighborhood.” When the employee tried to keep him from entering, he pushed the employee up against the register and punched them in the face, police said. 

The attacker fled on foot, police said. The employee had minor injuries and refused medical attention. 

And in the Bronx, two bodega employees were stabbed and pistol-whipped early Friday morning. 

According to the New York City Police Department, five customers entered the bodega in Concourse Village around 3 a.m. Friday morning. The customers then attacked the workers – stabbing one in the arm and neck, and pistol-whipping the other. Both employees were hospitalized for their injuries. 

The attackers took off with the bodega’s cash. The incident was captured on security video. 

 

 


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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