Hanover police are searching for a suspect who sprayed a convenience store clerk with lighter fluid and threatened to light her on fire during a robbery this week.
Hanover Police Lt. Robert Heywood said that at 10:18 p.m. Wednesday they were called to the Tedeschi Food Shop at 1371 Hanover St. The clerk reported that white male in his 20s, described as heavy-set, about 5’10’ tall, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, a red shirt and jeans had entered the store.
“The clerk came up behind the counter to wait on him, and he removed a yellow can of what appeared to be lighter fluid from his pocket and sprayed her from the shoulders down to the waist area in a back and forth motion with this lighter fluid,” said Heywood.
The victim told police that the suspect then pulled a set of matches out of his pocket and said, “Give me all the money or I’ll light you on fire”, and then, “If you scream I’ll light you on fire”.
According to Heywood, the victim also reported the suspect had a distinctive walk.
“He walked with a ‘duck-like’ gait: kind of waddled a little bit back and forth,” said Heywood.
Heywood said that during his long career as a police officer, this is a first.
“This is the first time we’ve come across that type of weaponry used in a robbery. I’ve never seen it myself; I can’t speak for the whole department, but in my 30 years, I’ve never seen it.”
A Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department canine was brought in to search the area, and police found the hooded sweatshirt they believe belongs to the suspect. It is being tested for evidence.
Heywood said that they classify this a particularly dangerous and disturbing crime, in which the robber played on a basic human fear.
“It’s very frightening for anybody to be told they’re going to be lit on fire. So, we consider this to be very serious and we’re looking for any help we can get in apprehending the subject,” said Heywood.
Anyone with information is asked to call Hanover police 781-826-3231 and ask for the detective on call.