Norwich landmark Dan & Whit's hit by armed robber
Threatened to shoot 17-year-old clerk working his first job
NORWICH, VT - A robber dashed in the front door of Dan & Whit's general store on Main Street at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday and, in an obscenity-filled rant, demanded money before sprinting back outside with a handful of cash less than a minute later in what is now the third armed robbery to strike the area in four days time.
"I actually thought he was joking at first," recalled 17-year-old Norwich resident David Seigne whose position at the register at the landmark store is his first job.
"Then he said `Give me all your money!' and then he put his hand in his pocket and said `I'm serious! If you don't give me all of the money I'm going to shoot you right now!'," along with some choice swear words, Seigne recounted.
Dan & Whit's clerk David Seigne, 17, of Norwich kept his cool despite the death threats
Even though he said he suspected the robber was actually bluffing about having a firearm, the teen handled the situation like a pro, opening the register and handing him a smaller amount of the larger bills in the hopes the robber would be satisfied and go away, which is essentially what happened.
"He was super quick about it. He didn't even take all of the money. He just kept saying `Hurry up! Hurry up! It was all over in 30 seconds and he ran off," Seigne said.
The teen spent about a half hour helping investigators as the front parking lot by the gas pumps filled up with police cruisers from Norwich, Hartford and the Vermont State Police and then he calmly went back to his job, washing dishes out back and cleaning up the coffee station in anticipation of another busy morning tomorrow.
Seigne described the robber as a white male in his early to mid-thirties who stood about 6-feet-2-inches tall and was wearing jeans and a "bulky" blue jacket with something pulled up over his mouth and sunglasses.
Seigne added that he "didn't want to stereotype" the robber but he couldn't help noticing he had a deep voice and kind of a "ghetto or gangster" choice of language punctuated with "lots of swears."
Norwich Police Chief Douglas Robinson sent texts to security officers at area businesses Wednesday evening warning them about what had just happened
Norwich Police Chief Douglas Robinson said Wednesday evening that it is "very possible this is related to the other robberies (in Wilder) but we don't know yet. It's very early" in the investigation, the chief stressed. He added that it was not known which way the robber went after leaving the store nor whether a vehicle was involved.
The region's brush with armed bandits began at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning when a lone gunman flashed what appeared to be a large-frame semi-automatic handgun at a clerk at the Cumberland Farms in Wilder and it continued Tuesday evening when what police believe may be a different, possibly shorter, robber held up the Mobil station a short distance further south on Hartford Avenue in Wilder.
Chief Robinson said investigators are working to retrieve video surveillance camera images of the Norwich robber and will release that to the public as quickly as possible. In the meantime anyone who thinks they might have information on the Dan & Whit's case is being asked to call Norwich Officer Anna Ingraham at (802) 649-1460
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