Random gunpoint robberies target St. Albans residents
Lt. Ron Hoague
ST. ALBANS, Vt. -
Edna Chagnon and her husband have lived on Rugg Street in St. Albans for more than 50 years. They have always felt safe. But not anymore.
"It's upsetting, especially for old people who are alone," Edna Chagnon said.
Two people in her neighborhood have been robbed at gunpoint at night within a three-block radius.
"People that are that desperate aren't going to listen to reason anyway. And that's what makes it more scary," she said.
The latest robbery happened Thursday night just before midnight. Police say a masked gunman robbed a 25-year-old woman as she was getting out of her car at South Main Grocery. And just last Saturday, a 36-year-old man reported he was robbed by a gun-wielding suspect after parking his car in his driveway on Rugg Street.
Residents are now turning on their outside lights at night.
"I noticed they are on a little longer at night. I leave mine on. It's dark out here," said Deborah Allen, who lives on Rugg Street.
And police are very concerned, as well. They believe the gunman is picking his targets at random.
"Somebody walking out of the darkness and approaching a stranger; that's pretty brazen," St. Albans Police Lt. Ron Hoague said. "Personal robberies, we haven't seen a whole lot of that. Usually personal robberies like this, it's usually someone the person knows, but in these cases where somebody comes out of nowhere, we haven't seen a lot of."
The suspect in both robberies is described as a white man, about 5'6" who was wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt and mask, and was armed with a handgun in each stickup.
"We are stepping up our patrols where people will be at night and be in that area more frequently to prevent this from happening again," Hoague said.
Police and residents hope the suspect is caught soon before the violence escalates and someone gets hurt.
"It would certainly put us to rest and all of the neighbors on the street," Chagnon said.
Police say they are reviewing surveillance video from the store and at other businesses nearby, hoping that will help them get a better description of the suspect.
The robber made off with cash from both victims in those stickups.
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