Update: Man charged with armed robbery at pot shop

ALLISON CORNEAU/Staff photoEmployees from CNA Stores stand outside the business on River Street as Haverhill police investigate on Wednesday.

HAVERHILL — Police have arrested a Haverhill man in connection with an armed robbery that took place Wednesday afternoon at CNA Stores, a retail cannabis shop at 558 River St.

Deputy Chief Stephen Doherty said Tony Hernandez, 51, was arrested at 2:30 p.m. on Washington Street and is charged with armed robbery.

An undisclosed amount of cash and pot were taken, police said.

This is the first cannabis store robbery in Haverhill since retail stores opened for business in May 2020.

No staff members were injured during the incident, according to CNA Stores owner Rob DiFazio.

"We are a little shaken, but Haverhill police were here in minutes and did an awesome job," DiFazio said.

According to DiFazio, at 12:30 p.m., someone entered the pot shop brandishing a BB gun and demanded cash and product from an employee. 

"Our employees followed our security protocols and when that individual left the store he was immediately apprehended by Haverhill police," DiFazio said.  

According to DiFazio, the store's quick-thinking employees "did everything right."

"The training we do with our team is the reason why no one was hurt," the owner said, adding that the entire incident was captured on security cameras.

He thanked the Haverhill police for their quick response. 

"We are in the process of debriefing with our employees and offering them the support they need while also reviewing our safety protocols with all staff,” he added. 

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned on the charge Thursday in Haverhill District Court. The investigation is ongoing, according to Doherty.

Anyone with information regarding the armed robbery is asked to contact Detective Michael Tortorise at 978-722-1560.

Owned and operated by Navy veteran DiFazio, CNA Stores opened in November 2020. CNA is one of three marijuana dispensaries in Haverhill.

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