By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Police are asking the public to help identify a woman they say approached several women in the downtown yesterday and threatened to stab them unless they gave her money.
Police said the suspect is described as thinly built and in her late teens or early 20s. She has pulled-back blonde hair, a pale complexion and wore a white sweater and jeans, they said. She may have been in a silver station wagon, possibly a Subaru with New Hampshire plates, police said.
“As a general warning, we’re asking people to be wary of strangers who approach you,” said police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson.
According to police, about 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a woman about to get into her car in Central Plaza was approached by the suspect, who called out “mom” and then said she was looking for her mother.
Police said the suspect showed the woman a knife and moved toward her, demanding money. Police said the suspect held what appeared to be a steak knife and pointed it at the victim’s abdomen. The suspect ordered the woman to give her all of her money, stating, “Don’t run or I’ll kill you,” according to police.
Police said the victim dropped her groceries, reached into her pocketbook and handed the suspect an undetermined amount of money, and again was told not to run. The victim eventually went inside the Women’s Health Care office in the plaza to seek help. Police said the victim gave them a description of the suspect.
Police said they failed to find the suspect during a search of the area. A review of surveillance video from Market Basket in the plaza was negative as well, they said.
Around the same time, officers who were in the area of 60 Merrimack St. were flagged down by a woman who said she was walking from her home to an appointment when she was approached by the suspect, who said she was homeless and asked for money. The victim told the young woman she did not have any money, and the suspect then pulled a steak knife out of her left sweater sleeve and stated “don’t scream,” according to police.
The suspect then ran to a vehicle parked in front of the Landmark Building on Merrimack Street. The victim described the vehicle as a silver station wagon (possibly a Subaru) with a green license plate, possibly from New Hampshire. The victim said nothing was taken from her. Police said the woman told police that after her assailant fled, she called out to a man who was walking eastbound on Merrimack Street and asked him to call 911. The man told police he saw the suspect run to the vehicle and then drive west toward Washington Square.
Police said they learned about a possible third incident involving the suspect when another woman arrived at the police station to report she had been robbed at knife point in Central Plaza by a thinly-built woman who then left the plaza in a silver station wagon with New Hampshire plates. Thompson said the investigation is ongoing.
How to help Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call police at 978-373-1212. To leave a message on the police anonymous tip line, follow the prompts. You can also stop by the police station at 40 Bailey Blvd.