EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 22, 2012

Suspect 'caught by video' faces robbery charges

By Mark E. Vogler
mvogler@eagletribune.com

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LAWRENCE — A Nashua, N.H. man who police said was caught by a security video camera robbing a city convenience store clerk in July has returned here to face several felony charges.

Jody Allen Bursell, 43, was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail in Manchester, N.H., on unrelated criminal charges. He recently agreed to waive extradition, according to Lawrence police Chief John Romero.

Bursell is due to be arraigned Monday in Lawrence District Court on armed robbery, assault to commit armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

“This guy is back to face these charges because of people who saw the video on The Eagle-Tribune website, recognized him and called the police with their tips,” Romero said in an interview last night.

Police also credited the security camera video of the July 31 robbery of City Mart at 576 Haverhill St. for police to identify an alleged accomplice in the crime who remains in the custody of New Hampshire authorities.

Jered Hayes, 23, the second suspect in the crime, was also being held at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Police say store owner Nazir Shaikh disarmed one of his attackers of a black semi-automatic handgun. Police later determined the weapon to be a BB gun.

The two intruders who overpowered Shaikh left the broken weapon behind, but made off with about $300 to $400 in cash. The video showed a fierce-looking struggle between the store owner and his assailants, but he wasn’t injured in the scuffle.

Shaikh told detectives at the time that he recognized both men as customers who have frequented his store before. After the anonymous tipsters named the suspects, Shaikh positively identified them men who robbed him from photo arrays prepared by Lawrence detectives.

Police identified Burtsell as the suspect seen in the video who leaped over the counter, armed with the black handgun and attacked Shaikh. He was wearing dark glasses and a fisherman’s hat.

Suspect Hayes was easier to identify, since he made no attempt to disguise himself in front of the security camera, according to police.

Burtsell and Hayes are well known to New Hampshire lawmen and have been linked to several robberies in that state.

Toward the end of the video, when the robbery suspects bolted from behind the counter, Shaikh grabbed a metal curtain rod he keeps at the store to protect himself and tried to hit one of the fleeing men.

Romero said he believes the crime would have gone unsolved had the video not been posted on The Eagle-Tribune website.

“It’s great that The Eagle-Tribune ran the video because we really had no clue to their identities. That’s what made the case. This is a great example of how the police can work with the media and the community in solving a crime that may otherwise go unsolved,” Romero said.