PELHAM – Clerks at Cousin’s Convenience Store helped police catch a robbery suspect late yesterday afternoon by locking him in the store until the arresting officers arrived.
Austin Brady, 17, of Dracut, was charged with unarmed robbery and unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor. He was booked at the Pelham Police Station and later released on $25,000 personal recognizance bail. Brady is scheduled to appear in the 10th Circuit Court in Salem at 8 a.m. on Nov. 19.
“This was a crime that ended up going further than he expected,” Pelham police Sgt. Anne T. Perriello said in an interview last night. “Once he (Brady) became physical, he heightened the level of the crime to a robbery,” Sgt. Perriello said.
Brady initially faced a shoplifting charge after store clerks saw him attempting to steal a 32-ounce bottle of Sam Adams Octoberfest from the store located at 116 Bridge St., according to police.
But store clerk Dinesh Udhrain confronted Brady, at the request the head clerk Alkaben Patel. After a brief argument between Udhrain and Brady took the bottle out of his coat pocket and handed it back to Udhrian. Brady then pushed Udhrian out of the way in an attempt to flee the store, Udhrian told police.
Two patrons in Cousin’s Convenience at the time of the robbery confirmed that Brady attempted to steal alcohol and also pushed Udhrian in an attempt to leave the store. Udhrian was not injured in the altercation, police said.
Police responded to the store soon after receiving an alarm at 4:24 p.m. When police arrived, they met Udhrain in the parking lot. The clerk recalled his confrontation with the robbery suspect and advised them that he was unable to leave the store because Patel locked the front door as employees waited for police.
“It’s definitely not a common practice and we do not recommend that,” Sgt. Perriello said of the store clerk’s locking the robbery suspect in the store after confronting him.
“I don’t think a lot of people try to take things into their own hands like this. We do not recommend that as a common practice. It can be very dangerous, especially if the person who is trying to rob somebody is armed. That can make that situation worse,” she said.
Confronting a robber also puts the safety of customers in the store at risk, Sgt. Perriello added.
“Just let him go and let us catch him,” she said.