ROWLEY — What started as a report of an armed robbery at Spud’s restaurant yesterday morning has evolved into something murkier, including a possible threat against a manager at the popular Route 1 eatery, police said.
According to Rowley police Lt. Detective Joe Gamache, a man wearing a ski mask or scuba mask walked up to the curbside service door at 9:15 a.m. and got the attention of an employee.
He then told the employee that he had a handgun in his right pocket and that he wanted to speak to the manager, but assured the witness no harm would come to the manager.
The witness informed the manager, who then called police with the aid of the restaurant’s cook.
By the time police responded to the scene, the suspect had fled the area, possibly on foot or in a car. With the assistance of a state police K-9 unit, the area around the restaurant was searched, but no leads were found.
Gamache described the suspect as approximately 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, wearing all-black clothing and either a ski mask or scuba mask.
“Nothing was taken, no threats were made. Obviously when you have someone show up at your place of business and they make a point of having a handgun, it raises a lot of concerns,” Gamache said.
When first reported, police treated the incident as an armed robbery, prompting a fleet of local and state police cruisers to converge upon the restaurant. Also responding were police cruisers from Newbury and Newburyport.
A perimeter was established along Route 1, Route 113 and other main arteries as initial reports indicted he may have been armed and trekking through nearby woods.
Gamache said police would continue its investigation into the incident by watching surveillance video and re-interviewing witnesses. He also thanked neighboring communities and the state police for their rapid arrival at the scene and their assistance.
Typically open at 11 a.m., Spud’s remained closed until around 12:30 p.m. yesterday.