North Carolina Man Reportedly Thwarts Robbery Attempt During His Marriage Proposal

08/01/2015 AT 12:45 PM EDT

Talk about a knight in shining armor! One North Carolina man claims he had to fend off a robber before he could propose to his girlfriend.

Nicholas Anderson was nervous enough to pop the question to his longtime love Deanna Deal on Tuesday, but things took a dramatic turn when a thief attempted to rob the restaurant where the Hickory, North Carolina, man was proposing, according to WCNC.

Anderson planned to ask for Deal's hand in marriage at the Salsarita's Fresh Cantina restaurant, and even got her son Brighton involved to help with the surprise, according to WCNC. On the big day, the couple's special moment quickly went awry when a man attempted to rob the store for what would have been the third time in July, Fox Carolina reported.

The suspect, identified by police as Graham Wilson Kiziah, entered the restaurant and demanded money, according to Fox Carolina. After being given an undisclosed amount of cash, he attempted to leave the restaurant when an employee began to chase him. Kiziah tried to hit the worker, according to the news station, when Anderson stepped in.

"The manager came to the door and locked the door. The guy behind the manager pushed him out of the way and unlocked the door," Anderson told WCNC.

Anderson quickly took matters into his own hands, tackling the would-be thief and placing him into a choke hold, Fox Carolina reported.

PEOPLE was unable to reach the Hickory Police Department for comment. Salsarita's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"It happened really quick. He knew how to handle the situation," Deal told WCNC.

According to authorities, Kiziah is the suspect in the restaurant's two prior robberies, and was apprehended after an off-duty Hickory Police Officer, David Freeman, saw the scuffle from the Salsarita's parking lot and intervened, Fox Carolina reported.

"I figured I had to do something," Freeman, who had just dined at the Mexican restaurant, told the station.

The police said Kiziah had previously indicated he was carrying a weapon when robbing the restaurant, but this time made no such threat, according to Fox Carolina.

The suspect was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $175,000 secured bond for one count of common law robbery from Tuesday, and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon for the prior incidents. The investigation remains ongoing, according to WHKY-TV.

Luckily, Deal was none-the-wiser about Anderson's special surprise, and he could employ his back-up plan.

The couple's memorable moment was, instead, in a nearby park, according to WCNC.

"After all that happened, asking her to marry me wasn't near as bad," Anderson told WCNC.

Despite the debacle, the story has a happy ending: Deal said yes!

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