Holdup shakes up Holyrood

Josh Pennell
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Clerk and community nervous after daytime armed robbery

Somebody has broken into Alex Morgan’s store in Holyrood — Mrs. Murphy’s Convenience — twice since 2007, but that was after hours when nobody was there. Sunday’s experience was quite different for him, and for the community.

Store owner Alex Morgan stands at his cash register Monday — the same register he took the money out of Sunday for an armed man who came in with a handgun in the afternoon.

At about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, Morgan saw somebody walking east on the main road through Holyrood toward the Mary Brown’s.

“Ten minutes after, he came back and came in,” says Morgan. “He had a handgun in his hand and his face partially covered. He had the gun on me three times while I was taking the money from the till for him and a couple packs of cigarettes. He backed out with the gun pointed at me.”

When the robber left, Morgan started to shake.

“I got that big of a fright, I didn’t know (what to do),” Morgan says.

He watched the robber run toward the access road to the Trans-Canada Highway when he left with the smokes and cash — likely toward a waiting car. Morgan grabbed the phone and called the police, who got there within five minutes.

“They just missed him,” Morgan says.

There were no customers in the store at the time, but on Monday there certainly were. Morgan says people he hasn’t seen in weeks came through and he served far more people than usual for a Monday.

Armed robbery, it seems, can be good for business — but not great for store clerks.

“I served a fella today who wanted a couple packages of Halls. I had to turn my back on him. I was nervous,” says Morgan.

Down the road at the Need’s Convenience, store clerk Nicole Hynes has been affected by the incident at Murphy’s.

“Its scary. It’s a scary situation,” she says. “It makes you extra, extra, extra nervous.”

Hynes doesn’t usually work nights. She’s been working there a year and half, and there hasn’t been an armed robbery since she’s been there, she says.

“I don’t think any of these people are really out to hurt you but at the same time you don’t know,” she says.

She wonders what could happen if somebody working at a store didn’t put the money in the bag fast enough for the person holding the weapon.

An increase in such incidents in the larger centres and how they could be pushing out to rural areas isn’t lost on Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie.

“When you hear (about) a crime of that magnitude, it’s certainly disturbing to the community. There’s no question,” he says.

Rural areas are a little more familiar with petty crime, Goobie concedes — crimes in which people don’t get hurt. He describes an incident where somebody walks in with a gun in the middle of the day as “scary.”

“When these rare incidents happen, it shakes the community.”

Goobie says he will speak with the police about the incident and, along with the rest of council, will watch to see if such incidents continue to rise, so they can act accordingly.

The committee structure for this term of council was recently put together, he adds, and the protective services portfolio is now called public safety. The committee for public safety will speak to the police regularly on various issues, including any increase in crime, Goobie says.

The mayor describes the community as a safe, peaceful, quiet community that attracts young families, and council aims to keep it that way. A rare incident such as this has to be put in perspective, he says.

“Even though it happened at a corner store in Holyrood, the perpetrators of this crime could have been from anywhere,” says the mayor.

Besides the specifics of what happened when the armed robber walked into his store, Morgan can say little else other than describe the robber’s demeanor, which he says wasn’t at all nervous.

“I wouldn’t say it was his first time,” Morgan says.

The RCMP is requesting help from the public in relation to the case, particularly if they were near Route 60 and the Holyrood Access Road at around 3 p.m. Sunday.



Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway, RCMP

Geographic location: Holyrood

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Recent comments

  • Source, please
    November 22, 2013 - 08:11

    Repeating your claims isn't the same as citing sources, and your anecdotes aren't data. Here's my source (citing FBI statistics) on the gun death rate and total gun deaths in Texas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state. Here's my source that suggests murders have been steadily declining (although four per week still sounds like a lot to me, and the number went up from 2011 to 2012) but not at an all-time low: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-s-2012-murder-total-incredibly-low-4158736.php. Again: I'm just curious to know the source that verifies two million assaults have been prevented over the past 10 years (as I said, that would mean nearly 550 fewers assaults every single day for the last 10 years) by concealed-carry laws. Because I have no idea how that would even be measured. In your cases, were you told by someone that he was going to assault you but stopped because he didn't know if you had a gun or not? Since your figure comes from the Dept. of Justice and the FBI, as you said, it should be easy enough to provide a link to the data.

  • seanoairborne
    November 20, 2013 - 16:58

    Source....I don't get into battles of wits with unarmed people like you!But,I'll brake my rule here, because you're such an uninformed lefty nut I can't let it pass!! FYI my figures come from The US Dept.of Justice and the FBI.The crimes I mentioned were all reported to the Police in all jurisdictions.This is the US and we do keep track of such incidents.Like I said in my previous post I myself have had 2 incidences in the last year or so.Both were reported to the police.There are millions of others, I'm sure, that go unreported which bolsters my case even more!Do yourself a favor,source, and don't try to pull your old ,tired and worn out lefty talking points on me!They don't work,Sparky!!

  • Nervous Employee
    November 19, 2013 - 13:13

    I work all evening shifts at the Subway in Holyrood, usually by myself. Initially, I wasn't too worried but since the armed robbery, it's pretty scary.

  • sparky
    November 19, 2013 - 09:01

    Its a 'pretty-sad-situation', but its only going to get worse! The police can only do so-much & if the police caught them in the act & arrested them when it got to court, the judge would give them a VERY LIGHT sentence, & then they are back-in-your-neighbourhood!

    • seanoairborne
      November 19, 2013 - 15:00

      Concealed Carry is the answer to this dilemma!When people are legally armed low life's don't know if the victim is armed or not and will err on the side of caution every time.Since we Texans put concealed carry laws in place about ten years ago there have been 2 million plus assaults that have been prevented by the legal use of a fire arm by innocent citizens.The Murder rate by felons in Houston has dropped to an all time low.I have used my gun twice in the last two years to fend off aggressors.I could have legally killed them but I gave them a second chance to mend their ways.Hopefully it worked.Concealed carry works folks,trust me.If that young lady who was murdered at the Villa Nova Plaza recently by her bat S**t crazy ex boyfriend had had a concealed carry weapon she could have taken care of this problem a long time ago and would still be alive.Guns don't kill people ,people kill people and I've never heard of a gun acting on its own!

    • Source, please
      November 20, 2013 - 15:00

      I'd really like to know the source of seanoairborne's two million number, since I can't think of any way you can count an assault that didn't happen, and unless you have 550 people a day saying, "I was going to assault someone, but I didn't because of concealed-carry laws," I'm not sure how you can credit concealed carry either. Your claim that the murder rate by felons in Houston has too many qualifications (why just Houston? why just by felons?) to take seriously. And from what I've been able to find, the murder rate, while dropping (as it is across the U.S.) is not, as you claim, at an all-time low. But as far as statistics that can be measured, Texas has one of the higher gun-murder rates in the country, and there are several hundred gun murders a year there. But by all means, tell us some more about how the way to make everyone safer is for more people to have concealed firearms.