EXETER — Police are investigating an armed robbery early Tuesday morning at the EZ Mart Shell station that allegedly involved five suspects who held the clerk at gunpoint before fleeing the scene.
The robbery occurred at approximately 3:24 a.m. at the store at 72 Main Street. Police said five individuals entered the store and walked around and conversed briefly with each other before one of the suspects got the clerk’s attention after producing a handgun while another pulled out what appeared to be an AR-15 style weapon from his waistband.
The clerk was held at gunpoint, but was not injured in the robbery. No customers were inside the store at the time.
Police said the suspects, who were inside the store for a total of about five minutes, fled on foot with an undetermined amount of cash and merchandise. It’s believed that they headed eastbound on Main Street after leaving the store. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the suspects may have had a vehicle.
A police K-9 from the state police was brought in to assist with the investigation along with a helicopter from the agency’s air unit. State police provided other help as well, including assistance with establishing a perimeter during the initial stages of the investigation.
At one point a nearby residence was searched, but it was cleared a short time later.
The robbery resulted in the closure of Main Street from Cass Street to Lincoln Street while officers searched the area and investigated the scene. The area remained closed for approximately two hours.
“This was certainly a dangerous situation and we’re glad that neither the clerk nor anyone else in the area was hurt,” Exeter Deputy Police Chief Josh McCain said.
“We would like to commend the clerk for the way he handled this very stressful encounter when he was confronted with multiple firearms,” said Police Chief Stephan Poulin. “He didn't panic and did exactly what was asked.”
Exeter police are working to gather surveillance video as they continue to investigate and search for the suspects. Additional information, including detailed descriptions of the suspects, will be released when it becomes available, police said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Exeter Police Department at 603-772-1212. Anonymous tips can also be made to Seacoast Crime Stoppers by calling 603-431-1199 or online at seacoastcrimestoppers.com.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: EZ Mart Shell gas station in Exeter NH robbed at gunpoint