The man came into the Subway restaurant to ask what time they closed.
Two hours later, police said he returned with a metal pipe he yielded like a baseball bat and demanded cash from the woman working alone.
It was just before midnight on Sept. 10. No one else was inside the restaurant at 4420 Pacific Highway East.
He dragged the employee into the back and held scissors to her face as he groped her, charging papers show.
Then he demanded the employee open the safe, shoved cash in a sandwich bag and threatened to kill her before disappearing through the door.
Police were able to collect the metal pipe, scissors and sandwich bag and send them for testing.
Crime lab analysists recently identified a 28-year-old homeless man through fingerprints, and Fife police arrested him.
The man on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to indecent liberties, first-degree robbery, unlawful imprisonment and felony harassment. He was ordered held on $500,000 bail.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653