One of the busiest shopping days of the year came to a frightening close Thursday night for store employees at Borders Books as they prepared to head home.
The store manager told police she was about to lock up the front entrance – the keys were in the door – around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 when a silver-colored vehicle pulled up in the parking lot and a masked man jumped out. His appearance was no doubt frightening as well – the man's face was fully covered by what appeared to be a rubber Halloween mask and he was pointing a gun, according to the police report.
The masked man ordered the manager and three other employees back into the store at gunpoint and once inside, directed them to lead him to where cash was kept – a back office room.
The employees said the man took an unknown amount of cash and fled the store in the vehicle parked outside. No one was hurt in the holdup.
Sgt. Dennis Bonaiuto said Peabody Police received a 911 call from the store at 11:35 p.m. The employees then described the robber to officers as a little more than six feet tall, a husky build and, in addition to the ghoulish mask, he was wearing gray gloves, a green tracksuit and a dark- and tan-colored jacket with a hood.
The man's getaway vehicle was described as silver-colored – possibly a small sport utility vehicle – with "distinctive" looking wheels. Bonaiuto said it is unknown if there was another person in the vehicle.
He said a radio alert was immediately sent out Thursday night to all area police departments to be on the lookout for the suspect and the vehicle. As of this morning, he was unaware of any leads on that front.
Bonaiuto said officers were also scanning surveillance footage from the store and would be conducting follow-up interviews with the four employees today.
Detective Eric Ricci is leading the investigation. Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect and/or whereabouts of the vehicle should call Ricci at 978-538-6313 or the main business number at 978-531-1212.