Vermont State Police Log: State police seek three men who robbed Leicester store
ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police are searching for three suspects in an armed robbery at the Champlain Beverage store on Route 7 in Leicester this past Saturday night.
The men got away with cash and cigarettes. The clerk on duty said the enormous Powerball lottery may be to blame.
Vermont State Police said three men in hooded sweatshirts, one armed with a gun, entered the Champlain Beverage store on Route 7 at 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 9. They allegedly ordered the clerk, Mark Rivait, to the floor, emptied the register, grabbed 11 cartons of Marlboro and Marlboro Light cigarettes, and fled out the back of the building.
“The whole thing took two minutes, tops,” Rivait said in an interview Monday. “It could have been a lot worse.”
There were no customers in the store at the time.
According to police, the suspects dropped one carton of cigarettes outside the south end of the building as they fled. Police have collected the carton as evidence and processed it for fingerprints.
The three suspects are described as white males with a medium build, between 5’10 and 6-feet tall, wearing dark colored hooded shirts. One was described as having acne on his face. It is unknown if a vehicle was used.
Storeowner Tom Maniery said police also seized surveillance video from the Leicester Central School, which is located roughly 100 yards from the store. Maniery said the suspects fled in the direction of the school, and police are trying to determine if there was a vehicle waiting for them.
Maniery said he is satisfied with the security system at the store, and said the investigation is proceeding.
“We have a pretty in-depth security system at the store,” he said. “Overall, it’s well lit. We have the camera inside, plus cameras on each corner of the building. I think the police have some good leads on who the suspects are, and hopefully they’ll be apprehended soon.
The video surveillance inside the store captured the suspects entering the establishment. In still photos provided by Vermont State Police, the first two men have scarves over their faces, but the third man’s face is visible.
Rivait said the first two men had him on the floor on his stomach behind the counter before he even saw the third man even enter the store.
Rivait said he is convinced that the record-breaking Powerball lottery, with a jackpot over $800 million before Saturday’s drawing, was giving thieves across the state motive to rob convenience stores that sell lottery tickets. He cited similar robberies in Bennington and Marshfield over the weekend.
“Just two hours earlier on the news they interviewed a store clerk in Essex saying they had an extra $1500 from Powerball ticket sales,” Rivait said. “I’m almost positive the lottery had something to do with it.”
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call VSP at the Rutland barracks at 802-773-9101. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or by texting “CRIMES” (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.
The local Vermont State Police barracks reported two other interactions with the public between Jan. 6 and 12. In these, troopers:
• Responded on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 9:24 p.m. to a one-car crash on Middlebrook Road near Little Otter Creek in Ferrisburgh. Police said the driver had fled the scene before they arrived, so they finished their investigation at the scene and went to the home of the car’s registered owners.
Police spoke with Bridget Wedge, 28, at her Ferrisburgh residence. Troopers said their investigation showed that Wedge had consumed alcohol, and a preliminary breath sample showed a blood alcohol content of 0.093 percent; the legal limit for driving is 0.08. Police took Wedge into custody, transported her to the New Haven barracks for processing, and cited her for driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and careless and negligent driving.
Police report that the 2001 Honda Civic that Wedge allegedly crashed was a total loss.
• On Jan. 11 stopped a car driven by a local woman on Route 7 in Salisbury. After a short investigation police suspected the driver was driving under the influence of drugs. She was transported to the New Haven barracks for a drug evaluation. Criminal charges are pending the results of a blood test.
Editor’s note: Lee J. Kahrs of the Brandon Reporter contributed to this log.