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.
© — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram
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.