EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 18, 2012

Police: Weapon used in robbery was BB gun

Appeared to store worker to be real gun

By Mike LaBella mlabella@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — It looked real enough to scare a store clerk into handing over the money from the cash register.

But the handgun a suspect used to rob a variety store last week was actually a BB gun, police said.

In another strange twist, officers were in the process of executing a search warrant at the man’s apartment when they were notified he was at the police station. There, he told a dispatcher he stole $400 from Riley’s Corner store at 352 Washington St., the same area of the city where he lived, police said.

Police charged Danny Vargas, 21, of 25 Gilbert St., with one count of armed robbery. At his arraignment Tuesday in Haverhill District Court, Judge Stephen Abany ordered Vargas held on $5,000 cash bail. A probable cause hearing is Nov. 6. Abany also issued a 60 day warning, meaning if Vargas is released he must stay out of trouble while his case is pending or risk being held for up to 60 days without bail.

Police said that just before 9 a.m. Friday, a man entered Riley’s Corner store, tried to use the ATM machine and then walked over to a female clerk who was behind the counter. The man then pulled out a black handgun and demanded money from the cash register.

Police said the woman handed the man about $500, and the man left. Police said they searched the area but were unable to find the man. The clerk told police the man was nearly 6 feet tall and wore a cloth cap with two stripes, a black leather jacket, dark shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said detectives were provided with store video surveillance video.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, Det. Glenn Fogarty obtained a search warrant for Vargas’ apartment and was in the process of executing the warrant on Tuesday when he was notified by police dispatch that the man he was looking for was at the station. Fogarty returned to the station and brought Vargas to an interview room, where Vargas admitted to robbing the store with a BB gun, police said. Vargas was arrested at 1:40 p.m. and, after being booked, was transported to Haverhill District Court for his arraignment.