Police: Armed robberies likely linked

GREENFIELD — Police believe a recent string of armed robberies have been committed by the same group of people.

Three downtown-area convenience stores were robbed at gunpoint in the span of a week. The first was Valley Mart on Mill Street, on Nov. 12. Three days later, JC’s Market on Conway Street was robbed, and just after midnight on Tuesday, the Main Street Cumberland Farms was held up.

“The weapon shown in all three robberies, and the body type of one of the individuals support that they’re being committed by the same person or people,” said Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr.

Clerks from the first two robberies reported a single white male, standing between 5 foot 6 and five foot 7, came into their stores, pointed a gun at them and demanded cash, which they were given before they fled.

The clerk at Cumberland Farms reported two white male robbers, the second standing six feet tall. Both were described as thin. Suspects in all three robberies wore hoods over their heads, and covered their faces with bandannas or scarves.

Though each of the first two robberies involved one suspect, and the third involved two, Haigh isn’t ruling out the possibility that the thief had a partner in all three.

“It doesn’t mean there wasn’t someone else waiting in the area” during the first two robberies, he said.

Clerks from all three stores said the robbers left on foot, but Haigh isn’t sure there’s not a vehicle involved.

“We’ve had nothing to tell us that there was a vehicle, but we’re keeping that option open,” Haigh said. “The K9s tracked the suspects for some period of time, and that indicates that they went some distance on foot.”

Haigh thinks the three stores were chosen because of their proximity to downtown.

“They’re in high-traffic locations, they’re not in the middle of nowhere, and they’re very accessible (for someone traveling) on foot.”

Though many robberies and burglaries in recent years have been linked to drug dependency, Haigh isn’t sure these robbers are motivated by addiction.

“We don’t have anything to support the involvement of drugs,” the chief said.

Haigh said the department has “a few good leads,” but declined to specify them for fear of fouling the ongoing investigation.

“Detective (Lt. Daniel) McCarthy and his group are working very hard on this,” he said. “We’re looking to bring it to a close as fast as possible.”

While the detectives follow up leads and examine the evidence, extra patrol officers will be out on the streets, watching and waiting.

“We’re being as consistent as we can in stepping up our patrol,” said Haigh.

“We’re being as proactive as we can,” he continued. “That’s something I’m looking at as a whole for my career here.”

That career began right in the middle of the rash of robberies. Haigh, who had been chief of the Orange Police Department, served his first day as Greenfield’s chief Monday.

Haigh urges civilians to be proactive as well.

“If people see anything out of the ordinary, anything that causes them apprehension, they should call us, no matter how small it may seem,” he said.

He’s also asking that nobody try to be a hero.

“We don’t want anybody to put themselves in harm’s way,” he said. “We’ve been lucky that nobody’s been injured.”

Rather than trying to stop a robbery, Haigh said, witnesses should remain alert, make good observations, and not be afraid to call police.

Greenfield police may be reached by calling the non-emergency line, 413-773-5411.

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