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November 5, 2012

Three men at large following armed robbery at Rochester antique store

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three men who they say tied up an employee of Antiques by Pamela and held her at gunpoint while they stole jewelry from the store Nov. 2.

At approximately 11:08 a.m., Rochester police were called to Antiques by Pamela — 319 S. Main Street — to investigate an armed robbery.

According to Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm, the victim said three white male suspects entered the store at 10:45 a.m. — two from the front entrance and one from the back. All were wearing sunglasses, hats, jackets and gray hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up to cover their faces.

Schettenhelm said the men confronted the victim, who was the sole employee in the shop at the time, with a gun.

“They took her down to the ground and bound her hands and legs and one of them took a large quantity of jewelry from two display cases,” he said.

Then, according to a surveillance video, the suspects appeared to have walked out the front door of the store and headed south on the west side of Main Street.

After the men left the store, the victim — who was not injured — was able to get free her legs and make her way to the front door where she yelled for help. A passerby heard her, immediately called police and helped free her hands.

“About 20 minutes elapsed between time they entered, and time she was able to get to the front door,” Schettenhelm said.

The department’s evidence technician is processing evidence from the scene and detectives have been assigned to follow up on the case. At press time, police were waiting for the storeowner to complete an inventory of the jewelry inside the store at the time of the incident and were unsure of the approximate dollar amount of the items stolen.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to contact the Rochester Police Department at (248) 651-9621.

This is the second armed robbery to occur downtown in the past five months. The previous incident occurred over the summer, when two men robbed Lucido Fine Jewelry of downtown Rochester at approximately 2 p.m. July 28.

During that incident, two subjects entered the rear of the store, 312 S. Main St., from the alley near the parking lot and made their way to the front. Then, one of the men allegedly took out a mallet he had rolled up in his shirt, smashed the top glass of a display case and took three Rolex watches — described as “very high-end.” The suspects fled out the front door of the store facing Main Street, ran north on the sidewalk, east on Fourth and south on East Street, and met up with a Silver Dodge Charger near Third and Water streets.

One of the store employees chased after the suspects, and Schettenhelm said a very alert citizen noticed the Dodge Charger just prior to the larceny taking place and obtained the license plate number. Later that evening the Detroit Police Department — which was notified of the incident along with other local police departments — located the vehicle in their city.

Schettenhelm said police were able to identify one of the two suspects from that incident by his fingerprints as well as a photo line up.

“We are still trying to find that person, but we have indentified him and we have a warrant out for his arrest,” he said.
Prior to that armed robbery, Schttenhelm said it had “been some time” since a similar incident had occurred downtown.

Editors note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. Nov. 5.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.