Police: Woman robs F.L. Roberts station

Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2018 4:46:34 PM

GREENFIELD – A homeless woman arrested on Bank Row faces six charges after police say she robbed a Main Street gas station and discreetly fled through Energy Park, where families had gathered for a town-sponsored Halloween costume contest Wednesday.

Heather L. Symanski, 28, pleaded not guilty at Greenfield District Court on Thursday and was held without bail. She faces charges of armed robbery, vandalizing property, breaking and entering into a vehicle/boat at nighttime for felony, larceny under $1,200, larceny of credit card, and improper use of credit card under $1,200.

According to court documents, police were dispatched to the F.L. Roberts gas station at 63 Main St. at 5:48 p.m. for a report of a woman robbing the store and screaming that she had a weapon. Police arrived and learned the woman had fled down nearby railroad tracks, and some officers went to search for the suspect. At the costume contest at Energy Park, several officers were seen calmly searching the premises while others used flashlights to search brush near the train tracks on the other side of a fence. These searches did not locate the suspect. Adults and children at the park for the festivities seemed oblivious to the police activity.

According to police, the gas station clerk said the suspect stole a handful of cash and tried to flee, though some customers held the door shut from the outside. The suspect reportedly started screaming that she had a bomb and was going to blow up the building. She kicked at the glass door and smashed it before fleeing. Sgt. Dan McCarthy identified Symanski after seeing security footage at the gas station. A short time later, a woman called police to report a frantic woman jumped the fence at Energy Park and walked toward Bank Row.

According to a narrative from Officer Justin Purinton, he saw Symanski staggering up Bank Row, picking up money in the roadway. Purinton stated he approached Symanski, drew his firearm because of the earlier reports of Symanski having a weapon and ordered her to the ground. Purinton said he arrested Symanski after two other officers arrived. Symanski reportedly had cash in her back pocket.

Prior to the robbery call, a man approached McCarthy to report his unlocked car had been entered and his wallet (containing his bank card and $105 in cash) had been stolen. Police searching around the tracks recovered the card, which they believe was used to purchase two vodka nips from a nearby liquor store.

Symanski is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 8.

On Jan. 20, she was summonsed to court for a shoplifting charge are allegedly stealing three items from the Dollar General at 369 Federal St. the day before. She was released on personal recognizance. For that charge, a clerk at the court said Symanski had been put on pre-trial probation until her next court appearance, which was scheduled for Jan. 1, 2019.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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