, Newburyport, MA

April 16, 2013

Police search for suspects after gas station robbery

Clerk threatened with liquid-filled syringe

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — Police issued arrest warrants yesterday for two men, one armed with a syringe filled with red liquid, believed to have robbed a Shell gas station on Storey Avenue Friday night and fled in a stolen mini-van later recovered behind a Salisbury gas station.

Inspector Michael Sugrue declined to reveal the names of the two suspects until they were captured by police but said the warrants were issued, in part, after collecting evidence found inside the stolen mini-van.

According to police, two men entered the Storey Avenue gas station, located very close to Interstate 95, around 9:30 p.m., one holding a syringe containing red liquid. One of suspects then told the male clerk the syringe contained the AIDS virus and threatened to stab him with it if he didn’t hand over all his money. The clerk did as he was told without incident and the suspects fled inside what was a stolen red Dodge Caravan.

Sugrue declined to comment on the amount of money allegedly stolen.

The vehicle was later recovered by Salisbury police behind a Mobil gas station off Main Street. Sugrue said evidence collected within the vehicle, reported stolen earlier that night in Seabrook, led to warrants being issued against the two suspects.

Assisting Sugrue at the scene were Newburyport police officers Michael Wilichoski, Shawn Eaton, Sgt. William Steeves, Sgt. Alan Maguire and detective Charles Eaton.

Last November, a Salisbury man allegedly robbed the same gas station at knife-point. Christopher Lee Watkins, 27, of 169 Bridge Road, left, Salisbury, was arrested a week after police say he entered the gas station just before closing on Nov. 2, brandished a knife and stole $727 from the attendant on duty. The clerk, who was not the same man working during Friday’s alleged robbery, complied with the robber’s demands and was uninjured, according to police.