MANCHESTER — Police said Loretta Mearls, 50, told a clerk at the Tedeschi Food Mart, 245 Maple St., Saturday night: “You have 20 seconds to give me the money and get on the floor or I’ll blow this place up.”
They said she fled the store with $115 in cash stuffed in her pocket and purse.
The clerk said the robber entered the store and engaged him in friendly conversation, while snacking on merchandise. But the conversation ended when the woman announced the robbery, demanding money and implying she was armed.
Police said the woman, identified as Mearls from surveillance video, left the food mart and was seen entering Pizza Express, across the plaza from the food mart. When police arrived at the plaza, across from police headquarters, employees said the woman had been there but had left.
Officers checking the American Legion Hall, next to the plaza, saw a woman matching the robber’s description walking out the door, with cash bulging from her pocket and purse.
Mearls, who listed the homeless shelter as her address, but also indicated she is from Brookline, Mass., was charged with false report to law enforcement for giving an officer a false name.
Mearls could enter no plea to a felony robbery charge at her arraignment Monday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division, so a probable cause hearing was set for Jan. 21. Trial on the misdemeanor false report charge was set for Feb. 5.
Police prosecutor Carrissa Pelletier, noting Mearls has open cases in other jurisdictions, requested $5,000 cash/surety bail. Judge William Lyons set at the requested amount, with conditions that included completing the booking process at the Manchester Police Department.
Asleep in court
It took a couple of tries for bailiffs and detainees to wake Holly Kula, 25, of 408 Cedar St., who dozed off while waiting for her arraignment Monday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division. Kula was in court after failing to appear in court on two theft by unauthorized taking charges from last summer, at Market Basket and WalMart.
As a result of her failures to appear in court, bench warrants were issued with $1,000 cash/surety bail on the Market Basket theft charge and $350 on the WalMart charge.
Kula was hoping for personal recognizance bail, but her failures to appear ruled that out. Total bail is $1,350 cash/surety, with trial on both charges set for Feb. 4.
Blames the victim
Anthony Brown, 36, of 1157 Front St., pleaded innocent Monday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division to a simple assault charge that alleges he pushed his girlfriend to the ground. A criminal threatening charge alleges that, during an argument, he told her he was going to hit and kill her.
Brown complained to Judge William Lyons: “This all happened because she threw me out and then she wouldn’t let me leave.”
Police prosecutor Carrissa Pelletier requested $1,500 cash/surety bail, saying Brown recently waived a probable cause hearing on an habitual offender felony and faces a conduct after an accident charge from the incident.
Lyons set bail at $1,000 cash/surety, with conditions barring contact with the woman and barring Brown from her residence. Trial was set for Feb. 4.