EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 13, 2014

Robbery suspect lifts ski mask during robbery

By Mark E. Vogler

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LAWRENCE — One of two masked men suspected in the Monday night armed robbery of a grocery store revealed his face for a few seconds — just long enough to give police a lead that may lead to his capture.

A store surveillance video released by the Lawrence Police Department yesterday shows a man, about 6-feet tall, lift up his black ski mask momentarily as he stood with a handgun at the counter inside the Super Mas Market at 775 Essex St.

“This is kind of a first for me — the first time I have seen somebody take their mask off and look at the camera,” said Acting Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick. “It’s definitely rare. I don’t know if he forgot where he was. He probably didn’t realize he was looking straight at the camera.”

The two men robbed the store of about $300 in cash and three packs of Newport cigarettes shortly after 8 p.m. Monday

A witness spotted two men dressed in black running from the store before jumping into their getaway car on Greenwood Street. The witness told police he parked his car and waited for the suspects’ car to pass him and then followed for a short distance, taking down the license plate number.

Detectives were able to recover a blue 1999 Honda Civic that was parked on Providence Street and had it towed to be processed for evidence. Inside the car, police found a backpack, ski masks and an unopened pack of Newport cigarettes.

“We recovered some stuff that should be of evidentiary value, which we hope will help tie the other suspect to the crime. We have a good idea who he is, but need something to tie him to this robbery and others they may have committed,” the chief said.

The two suspects — one described by police as “tall” and the other one referred to as “short” — allegedly pulled off two armed robberies within a half hour last week — on a night when the city was clearing up after a snow storm.

“We believe these guys may be involved in at least six armed robberies over the past two months,” Fitzpatrick said last night.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect should call detectives at 978-794-5900, ext. 625.