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SAN ANTONIO (CBSMiami) — An IHOP waiter in Texas went from serving pancakes to serving up justice on a would-be robber.

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Turns out, the bad guy messed with a third-degree black belt.

Bloodied and bandaged, IHOP waiter Elijah Arnold recalls the moment he fought off a thief in San Antonio, Texas. (Source: KABB/NNS)

Police were called to the San Antonio restaurant for a report of a robbery shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday. They took the suspect into custody and are still looking for a man and a woman who were with him.

The waiter, Elijah Arnold, shared what happened to news cameras, still wearing a bloody shirt and sporting a bandage on his nose. He said when the group of three walked into the restaurant, something just didn’t seem right.

“When I stepped into the galley, I just got that feeling where I just needed to wait and listen,” he said.

A few minutes later, he heard the cash register pop open.

“That’s really the sound that haunts me because that’s the sound that put me into action,” Arnold said. “I ran up. He, like, swung the crowbar at me. I blocked with this arm and then I hit him with this hand and I pulled him to the ground.”

They both came away with a few bumps and bruises.

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“During that process, I don’t know if my face hit the register, hit the ground or just hit him in the face both, because he had a scar on his head and I have a big old bloody nose now,” said Arnold with a grin.

The crook quickly realized his mistake and pleaded for mercy.

“Even on the ground when I was holding him, he was begging me, like, ‘Please let me go. Just give me the money. I’m going through a bad time. You should understand this,'” Arnold recalled.

But the money in the register isn’t just the restaurant’s.

“That was my money in the register,” he explained. “It was my manager’s money in the register and it was my IHOP’s money in the register. And I’m not gonna let anybody take that.”

What the thief also didn’t realize was that the heroic waiter had fallen on hard times himself.

“Two weeks ago, I wasn’t working,” he said. “I was homeless.”

Arnold just got the job at IHOP. He just got a new work shirt, now stained with blood, and had just scraped together enough cash to get a used car. Even that ended in inconvenience.

“I got new tires on the back of my car yesterday and then I got a flat today,” he laughed.

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Arnold certainly knows the value of a dollar. Enough to fight for it.