By Doug Ireland and Jo-Anne MacKenzie, Staff writers
---- — DERRY — Derry police last night stopped a blue Dodge Neon and detained the female driver who may be a suspect in a string of armed robberies over the past week.
The car was stopped on Route 28 at about 10 p.m., several hours after police issued an alert for a car matching that description following armed robberies in Londonderry and Manchester yesterday evening.
Derry police Lt. Dan Beattie said the woman was being detained and may be a suspect.
“We have a suspect who may be involved. We have detained her at this point,” Beattie said last night. “She’s not under arrest. We’re still trying to piece this together.”
There could be a lot to piece together.
Area police had been searching for a woman in a car sometimes described as small and blue, in other cases as a blue Dodge Neon, after four local stores and sandwich shops were held up over the past week, two in Manchester, one in Londonderry and one in East Derry.
Beattie said his department was talking to police in Manchester and Londonderry last night.
Just last night, the Subway restaurant on Perkins Road in Londonderry was held up at about 7 p.m. The suspect, described as red-haired, was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans. She left the scene in a blue Dodge Neon.
While police searched Interstate 93 south, the direction the car reportedly headed in from Subway, Manchester police were called to Candia Road Convenience Store, which had just been robbed.
That robbery, not far off I-93 Exit 6, occurred about 30 minutes after the Subway incident. The suspect escaped with an undetermined amount of cash, according to Manchester police.
The descriptions of the suspect and the car are similar to those in two earlier holdups, one in East Derry Sunday evening, the other in Manchester a week ago.
Just before 6 p.m. Sunday, a woman claiming to have gun robbed the East Derry General Store.
Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said the woman threatened to shoot the clerk if she were followed, then fled with an undetermined amount of cash, Thomas said. No weapon was shown and she left in a blue, four-door Dodge Neon, he said.
The suspect in that holdup was described as about 5 feet 4 inches tall with blonde hair, blue or green eyes, and weighing approximately 120 to 130 pounds, Thomas said. She wore a green hooded sweatshirt under a black North Face jacket, jeans and sneakers, he said.
It’s not known if there were any accomplices. The woman was videotaped by a store surveillance camera.
A week ago today, Manchester police responded to an armed robbery at D’Angleo’s at 401 S. Willow St.
That call came in at 7:40 p.m. April 3, according to Manchester police. A restaurant worker told police a woman entered the business, saying she had a gun and demanding cash. There were no customers in the store.
She left in a “small, blue, four-door vehicle” driven by another woman, police said.
Police said witnesses described the robbery suspect as a thin woman in her 20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall with blonde hair. She was wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt with a gray jacket over it. Again, she had a sweatshirt hood pulled up over her head.
She told the D’Angelo’s employee she had a gun in her pocket, but never showed one, police said. The driver of the car was described as a woman with long, dark hair.
In all four instances, no customers were in the businesses and no one was injured.
Thomas said earlier yesterday his department has been in contact with the Manchester Police Department.
Anyone with information about the Derry robbery is asked to call or contact Detective Chris Talbot at 603-432-6111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with details on the Manchester incidents is asked call police at 603-668-8711 or contact Manchester Crimeline at 603-624-4040 or manchestercrimeline.org.
Staff writer Mark Vogler contributed to this report.