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PETERBOROUGH ROBBERY

Hobbs Jewelers robbed at gunpoint

Two men, two women flee with jewelry; no one hurt in 50-year-old store’s first robbery

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs
    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Hobbs Jewelry, Peterborough, Paul and Marjorie Hobbs<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — Four people took a sackful of jewelry and watches from Hobbs Jewelers in Depot Square on Tuesday evening, after one of them showed the store’s co-owner, Jackie Hobbs, a gun.

According to Peterborough police, four people entered the store at about 5:15 p.m. They were described as a black male, 25 to 35 years old, 6 foot, 4 inches to 6 foot, 5 inches tall with a very thin build, wearing a dark coat and dark jeans; a black male, 44 to 55 years old, 5 foot, 5 inches to 5 foot, 7 inches, medium build, wearing a gray sweatshirt and a knit hat; a black female, age 20 to 25, 5 foot, 5 inches to 5 foot, 7 inches, with her face covered and wearing a long black coat; a black female, age 18 to 25, 5 foot, 3 inches to 5 foot, 7 inches, with her face covered, wearing a long black coat.

Hobbs and her 17-year-old son, Curtis, who were the only people in the store at the time, were not hurt, according to Hobbs’s father, Paul Hobbs, who is a co-owner of the family-run store.

On Wednesday, as store staff conducted an inventory to determine exactly what was lost, Paul Hobbs and his wife, Marjorie, described what Jackie had told them about the robbery.

“The two women came in first,” Marjorie said. “They had on ski masks, and Jackie said, ‘Is it that cold outside?’ and they said it sure was. Then the two men came in right after and one showed her a gun and said, ‘Do you know what this is?’”

Marjorie said the man told Jackie to do as he said and no one would be hurt. She said they emptied a display case containing jewelry with diamonds, rubies and garnets, and took a number of watches that were on display.

“They put it into a white garbage bag,” Paul Hobbs said. “They didn’t ask for any cash. They told Jackie to lie down on the floor and count to 100. They had Curtis face the wall.”

Paul said the men took the batteries out of Curtis’s cell phone.

After the four left, Jackie Hobbs called police, who responded quickly, Paul Hobbs said.

“This is the worst that’s happened to us,” Paul said. “We’ve been in business in Peterborough for 50 years and have never been robbed.”

He said he was grateful that Jackie and Curtis had not been hurt.

“She did exactly the right thing,” he said. “Just let them have it.”

Hobbs said they do a lot of repair work at the jewelry store, but nothing belonging to customers had been taken. He said once the inventory was complete, the store would reopen for business.

“We expect to be open [Thursday],” he said.

Hobbs said a person working in the offices on the second floor of the Depot Square building said he had seen a black Mercedes parked outside the jewelry store at about the time of the robbery. The car had been backed into the space, which Hobbs said was unusual.

On Wednesday, Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard said he responded to the jewelry store, along with two of his officers, less than five minutes after the call came in. He said police issued a be-on-the-lookout call based on information they obtained. Guinard declined to comment on any vehicles observed. He said police are in the process of determining if video surveillance of the store and the area will be helpful.

Guinard said there have been two other armed robberies in Peterborough, both in 2010, one at the TD Bank on Route 202 South and the other at the Pizza Peddler restaurant on Route 202 North . He said there had been a number of other jewelry store robberies about the state recently, and store owners should be on the alert.

“Be vigilant. Be observant,” Guinard said. “Look for vehicles that are out of place. Plate numbers and vehicle descriptions are important.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Peterborough Police Department at 924-8050.

Peterborough residents and store owners contacted on Wednesday said they were surprised by the robbery and relieved that no one had been hurt.

“It’s kind of shocking. I was surprised,” said Jim Orr, who had seen the press release issued by police and posted it on his Facebook page Tuesday night. “I think they must have cased the store and determined it would be an ideal time. It’s awful that it would happen to Paul Hobbs and his family, because they are such a wonderful family.”

“It’s a little unsettling. You just don’t think this happens in Peterborough,” said Jim Therriault of  New England Everyday Goods, a Depot Square business. “It doesn’t sound like a random event, to go in at the end of the day, when some of the businesses here are already closed. I’m relieved that no one was physically harmed, but they must have been shaken up.”

Peter Harrison, the owner of At Wit’s End, another Depot Square business, also said it seems likely that the store had been targeted.

“You’d have to know that Depot Square even exists,” he said. “It’s sad. I was totally surprised.”

Bill Littles of Steele’s Stationers said a robbery while the store was open is unusual.

“There have been break-ins at businesses, but they’ve been at night, after hours,” he said. “We were shocked, given the time of day and the fact that it was an armed robbery. It kind of upsets the idea that we’re a ‘paradise.’ We have to realize that we’re not immune.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

So sad for the Hobbs family. They are all such wonderful folks and should not be taken advantage of like this. Very happy no one got hurt physically!

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