By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Customers of a busy coffee shop unwittingly interrupted an armed robbery when their unexpected arrival spooked the would-be robber.
Criminals have robbed banks, convenience stores, variety stores, liquor stores and gas stations in Haverhill this year. This time it was a busy Dunkin’ Donuts, only before a masked man could complete his robbery, customers showed up and he left the shop with nothing.
On Wednesday at 1:46 a.m., police responded to the Dunkin’ Donuts at 727 South Main St. on a report of an armed robbery.
While en route to the coffee shop, dispatch put out a description of a suspect as a man with a pierced eyebrow who was dressed in all black clothing and possibly armed.
Officers arrived at the Dunkin’ Donuts and spoke with employees who told them a man wearing all dark clothing, black winter gloves and a mask that covered his face entered the shop and walked behind the counter. The employee said the man ordered him and another employee into the back of the store, where he attempted to rob them. One of the employees told police the man was holding a black and silver object in his waist band, and that he believed it was a gun.
But before the masked man could get anything, two customers walked into the shop while another showed up at the drive through window, according to a police report.
An employee told police that when the bells for the front door and for the drive-though sounded, the masked man stated “Get rid of the customers. Get rid of them.” The masked man appeared to be playing around in his pocket and fiddling around, an employee told police.
Police said the masked man apparently got spooked by the arrival of customers and left the coffee shop in an unknown direction. Workers and witnesses called police to report what had happened.
A witness told police the suspect was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with the hood up over his head underneath his black coat, and a black mask that covered the bottom half of his face. The witness said the suspect’s jacket appeared to have a white logo on the back, upper middle area, and on the right side of the front.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police at 978-373-1212. You can also leave a message on the police anonymous tip line by dialing 978-373-1212 and following the prompts.