"You can see footprints coming out because that's where the cops came up," Jesi Anderson said.
Barre City resident Jesi Anderson points out the spot where she and some friends found a man they think is the duct tape bandit.
"It was probably right here-- yeah, because they walked up right there. This is where the cops came up. And they had him on the ground over there. They were tazing him," Anderson said.
Barre City Police say late Wednesday night, LeeJay Manning, 28, went to the Cumberland Farms on North Main Street with a loaded pistol demanding cash. Authorities say he wore a mask topped with duct tape and made off on foot. But Jesi says she and some other friends were at the store, saw him take off, and decided to go after him, even though he had a gun.
"We were literally there as this was happening. Like my friend was like, guys, do you want to do this? Like do you want to go look for him? Do we want to do this? And we were like, let's get in the car and we took off," she said.
Barre City Police Chief Tim Bombardier say the police were pointed in the right direction by the watchful civilians and arrested Manning on the frozen river behind the Spaulding High School. The question now is whether Manning is tied to the recent string of stickups across town, many by someone wearing blue tape or silver duct tape on his face.
Residents say they are relieved to hear about the arrest.
"I mean, I think it's good that we finally got an arrest and stuff like that, and that we got one more person off the street that's like that. I mean, I have a 3-year-old daughter and I don't need to have to carry her downtown and worry about this happening and that happening. So, I imagine that the community must feel pretty good about it," said Jon Blake of Barre City.
But Chief Bombardier says that people need to remain alert because the Cumberland Farms suspect could be a copycat.
"The other robberies, as I've said in the past, aren't the work of one individual; several individuals are involved," Bombardier said. "So people need to be vigilant, and I think just because of this one arrest, that doesn't mean that things are over."
This isn't Manning's first run in with the law. As a convicted felon, Manning was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. Since he had a loaded pistol for the robbery, the case has been turned over to the feds.
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