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Derry woman robbed at Cremeland of $7,600 after cashing IRS check nearby

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 26. 2013 12:35PM

MANCHESTER — Shannon Wells says she should be driving her children around in the car she planned to buy today with her $7,646 federal income tax return check.

Instead, the Derry mother of three waits at home for word that the thief who ripped her purse from her shoulder at Cremeland Drive In is caught.

"Today I was going to have a new car and a license and be able to bring my kids to the doctors and bring them to where they need to go. My sons, they can't do sports. They can't do nothing because of me," Wells, 27, said Friday.

Wells appealed to those responsible for the robbery on Thursday as well as the public for help in getting back her black leather purse and the envelope with more than $7,600 cash inside.

"I need that money back. I have three kids with no car or no license. That's what I was going to use that money for," she said.

Wells' mother-in-law and uncle drove her around to several checking cashing outlets Thursday so she could cash her tax return check. The check cashing outlets refused to cash a check that large, she said. That's what landed her at Checks Cashed of Manchester at 245 Maple St. shortly before 5 p.m. And that's where Wells believes she was targeted by the thief or thieves.

She believes the culprits followed her to Cremeland, less than a quarter mile away at 250 Valley St. Wells said she was waiting in line to order food when she noticed a woman acting strangely.

The woman alternately stood in front of and behind her in line and did not appear to order food. The woman then abruptly stepped out of line to sit in her blue-green sedan. Wells said a man then approached the car and talked with the woman as Wells carried the food to the picnic table where her family planned to eat. Wells' father pulled up to join the family.

As Wells walked toward her father's truck, the man who was speaking to the woman in the car grabbed Wells' arm, applied pressure to her wrist and "flipped me on the ground and he started running."

Wells and her husband, Shawn, 36, chased the thief towards Union and Grove streets. He got away.

Manchester police Lt. Maureen Tessier said police are investigating and urge anyone with information to contact police at 668-8711 or Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040.

"It seems like she was targeted," Tessier said.

Tessier said police believe the thief may have targeted Wells at Cremeland when she pulled cash out of the envelope in her purse. But Wells insists she kept the envelope hidden in her purse and only showed money when she handed her husband a $100 bill at the ice cream counter.

Besides using the money to buy a car, Wells said she planned to use it to pay off the fines she owes the state for a license suspension so she can get her driver's license restored.

The thief is described as a white man, 20 to 25 years old, 5-feet-10 to 6-feet tall, with a thin build. He has a "high and tight" haircut and was last seen wearing a grey shirt and either red shorts or jeans. The stolen purse is black leather with a pink bow and contains a black wallet along with assorted paperwork and the envelope of cash.

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