Armed robbers hold up Milton-Freewater shop

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MILTON-FREEWATER -- Armed robbers absconded with roughly $500 cash after a holdup at Sam's Stop and Shop just after 1:30 a.m. today, police said.

Two people entered the store wearing hooded sweatshirts, sunglasses, masks and gloves, according to police Chief Doug Boedigheimer. One of the suspects appeared to have a gun inside a sock. While the suspect brandished the supposed weapon, the other suspect emptied the cash register, Boedigheimer said. A third suspect waited outside in a late-model minivan.

Boedigheimer said the robbers were clearly unfamiliar with the store, and one walked right past the cash register at one point. After grabbing the money, the robbers fled east in the minivan toward Mill Creek, Boedigheimer said.

"The whole incident took about 45 seconds," Boedigheimer said. "It seemed like a fairly amateurish attempt, but it was effective."

Police are reviewing video footage of the robbery, and have contacted local and regional police departments for information about similar incidents.

"For us, it's the first actual robbery we've had in a while," Boedigheimer said.

Boedigheimer said store owners can reduce the risk of robbery by keeping minimal amounts of cash on hand, making it more difficult to access and upgrading alarm systems.

"I would just recommend to my local store owners to keep as little cash as possible," Boedigheimer said.

Video surveillance cameras should also be placed close to head-height on walls to capture the best footage of suspects, Boedigheimer said.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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