Nerves frayed following robbery

Police release no new information

PETERBOROUGH — Business owners in the Monadnock Community Plaza on Jaffrey Road say they are grateful that no one was injured when two men held up the GFA Federal Credit Union branch in the plaza on Monday afternoon, showing a firearm and fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money.

“It’s Peterborough. Things like that aren’t supposed to happen here,” said Susie Reeves, owner of the Dollar Stop store in the plaza, on Wednesday. “We feel bad for the tellers. We want to try to support them.”

“It’s sad when something like this happens to your neighbors,” said Christine Witham, co-owner of La Mia Casa, a pizzeria located near the bank. “We know everyone there. I’m really glad no one got hurt.”

Police received a call from the credit union at 2:38 p.m., according to police records. A bank employee reported the branch had just been robbed by two men wearing dark clothing, one of whom showed a small pistol to a teller. The men had fled on foot to the north end of the plaza.

Chief Scott Guinard, Sgt. Vint Boggis and officers Gregory Theroux and David Bell responded, with the first officer arriving at 2:42 p.m., according to the police log.

In a press release issued Monday night, police described one of the suspects as a black man in his mid-20s, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches, weighing 160 pounds, wearing a dark-colored knit hat and all dark clothing. The other was described as a black man in his early 20s, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 6 inches, 130 pounds, wearing a dark-colored knit hat, a dark sweatshirt and dark pants. Police said they drove off in a silver four-door sedan with Massachusetts plates, which had been parked at the north end of the plaza. Police were told the car left the parking lot, heading north on Grove Street toward the intersection with Route 101.

Police have released no additional information on their investigation and are asking anyone with information to call them at 924-8050.

On Wednesday, Reeves said she had been working behind the counter at her store and may have caught a quick glimpse of the men.

“I saw a streak as they ran by my door,” she said.

Reeves said she had turned over video from a surveillance camera in front of her store to police. The camera points up the sidewalk toward the businesses on the north end of the plaza, but does not show the south end, where the GFA branch is located.

Cory Ayala, one of the owners of La Mia Casa, said he had seen two men matching the description of the robbers in the driveway behind the plaza earlier in the afternoon, which struck him as suspicious because he rarely sees anyone there.

An employee of the GFA office in Peterborough referred questions about the robbery to the company’s corporate office. A corporate spokesperson said the company was not issuing a formal statement, citing the fact that the robbery is under investigation by police.

Harry Dumont, senior vice president of the Lannan Company, Inc., the Nashua firm that recently purchased the Monadnock Community Plaza, said he was stunned to hear about the robbery.

“I’m glad no one was hurt,” Dumont said on Wednesday. “My first thought was, it is shocking. Everyone’s saying it’s rare for something like that to happen in Peterborough.”

He said the company would be willing to discuss possible security enhancements at the plaza.

“We’ll certainly want to reach out to the bank and talk about what we might want to do,” Dumont said.

Although robberies have been uncommon in Peterborough, a similar daytime incident occurred in January, when four people took a sackful of jewelry and watches from Hobbs Jewelers in Depot Square after one of them showed a gun to the store’s co-owner, Jackie Hobbs.

This week, police in Somersworth arrested four people in connection with a recent series of armed robberies in Somersworth, Exeter, Alton and two towns in southern Maine.

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