Editor's Note: The following editorial by News and Sentinel of Colebrook Publisher Karen Harrigan initially ran in that newspaper last week. It reflects, as only that hometown newspaper could, on the...
MANCHESTER— Police on Tuesday released a video of the armed robbery of a North End corner market and said they were bothered by the escalation of violent behavior they see in the cluprits, whom police linked to a spate of city robberies.
The two robberies on Tuesday afternoon involved North End businesses: Michelle’s Bakery on Union Street, which was hit about 12:15 p.m., and N&K Market at Hall and Pearl streets, hit about 1:30 p.m.
“What can we do? We are like a sitting duck on a pond; they come here to hunt us,” said Nadeem Ahmed, owner of N&K, who said he was also robbed in early October.
Police described the robbers as black men in their mid-20s and said they are responsible for multiple crimes in the city, including two on Monday night.
“The offenders in these crimes are described as very aggressive and volatile. While there have been no reported injuries related to these crimes, it appears the offenders’ violent behaviors are escalating,” reads a statement issued by police. (To see the video, go to unionleader.com)
One is about 6-foot tall and used a long-barreled handgun. He held it in his left hand during two robberies in recent days. The other robber is two to four inches shorter and has a smaller, black handgun, police said.
Police said the two armed men hit Michelle’s Bakery with three employees and a customer inside. They demanded money from the cash register, then took the customer’s purse, placed the cash inside it, ordered the victims onto the floor and left the store running east on Salmon Street.
About an hour later, police responded to N&K.
Ahmed said the two robbers pointed their guns at his face. After he gave them the money, the taller one asked for two packs of Newport cigarettes, then the shorter one told Ahmed to give him a pack of Newports also.
Last month, the store was robbed after dark and did not involve a gun, Ahmed said. Tuesday’s daylight robbery involved two guns.
“If you live in Manchester these days, you are just wondering if you go home if your home will be broken into,” he said. “Every day you read these stories. You wonder what’s going on.”
Police said the two left in an dirty, dark red sedan driven by a Hispanic woman. The vehicle was possibly an older model Toyota Camry. It had no front plate and had a temporary plate in the back, which was possibly attached to the rear bumper with zip ties, police said.
The taller N&K robber wore a blue sweatshirt with white drawstrings extending form the neck line. A logo on the shirt depicted a night scene with a crescent moon and a human figure. A video shows him waiving a handgun with his left hand.
The shorter robber wore a puffy gold and black checkered jacket with the hood up and a dark Ray-Ban-styled sunglasses. One of the robbers in the Michelle’s Bakery robbery wore a puffy gold jacket, police said. Police said Tuesday’s robberies reflect a significant rise in both armed and unarmed robberies in recent months. Most have occurred at local convenience stores and involve firearms; others were street robberies, also referred to as muggings, some of which involved firearms.
Police said they have scheduled a seminar for 7 p.m. Nov. 14 to educate store owners and their employees about best practices and how to reduce the chance of being robbed.
Three robberies were reported Monday.
• At 7:45 p.m. the Union Street Market, 621 Union St., was robbed by two men, police said. Robbers ordered the store owner to the floor, then had him stand up and open the cash register when they couldn’t open it. They then pushed him into a corner.
One robber, a black man in his early 20s, wore a sweatshirt similar to that worn in the N&K robbery — a crescent moon and symbol of a basketball player. A large black revolver was in his left hand.
The other was described as a light-skinned black man or a Hispanic in his early 20s.
• At 7:20 p.m. Monday, police said they spoke to a 19-year-old who said he had been robbed while walking on Manchester Street near Maple Street. He said two men approached him with guns and demanded his belongings. One put a revolver to his cheek, the other a handgun to his back. They took a cell phone and folding knife but returned the cell phone because it did not work.
One robber was described as a black man in his mid-20s about 6-feet tall. The second was a black man in his mid-20s about 5-foot 8-inches.
• About 11 p.m., a man told police three men approached him and took his money as he walked to his car on Chestnut Street near Concord Street. One robber was a light-skinned black man or Hispanic. The other two were white men in their mid-20s.
Anyone with information about the robberies is urged to contact the Manchester Police Department at 668-8711 or the Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040 or manchestercrimeline.org.