Two armed robberies took place at Sackville businesses last week.
The first occurred on March 9 at Thunder & Lightning (T&L) on Bridge Street. Other than the bartender, only three people were present, including fifth-year student Mallory Burnside-Holmes.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., a man walked into the bar. Burnside-Holmes said a scarf covered his face and he had his hood up. The bartender was getting up to serve him when he said, “give me the money.” Burnside-Holmes said that when the bartender did not immediately respond, the man locked the door, took out “a rather large hunting knife,” and said more loudly, “give me all the money in the register.”
The bartender looked at Burnside-Holmes, who encouraged them to comply with the man’s demand. “I don’t think he would have done anything violent unless he was scared or spooked….The bartender gave him the cash and put [their] hands up, he took all the money, and then left,” she said.
The bartender immediately called the police. The police arrived approximately 10 minutes later and asked for a testimony from all witnesses. The bartender gave their testimony the next day, as they were shaken up by the event.
After the police arrived, the bartender called Glenn Barrington, co-owner of T&L. In an email to the Argosy, Barrington wrote that this was the first time an armed robbery has occurred at the bar.
“It’s a pretty upsetting and horrible thing to do to another human. It’s not a thing that happens often in this town and [and has] never [happened] at T&L before, with every hope it doesn’t happen again,” Barrington wrote. “We’re all talking about what we can do to change the way we run things to help prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
Wendy Alder, owner of Sackville’s Ultramar gas station, described a similar situation that occurred on Sunday, March 12, at approximately 8:40 p.m. While Alder was not present – only the clerk was in the store – she said the station’s security cameras captured the scene.
“A man came in with a mask, a bandana and sunglasses. He was wearing a ball cap and had a hoodie over his head, and he was dressed all in black,” Alder said. “He told the clerk he had a knife, and that he wanted cash and cigarettes.
“He came around by the daycare next door, and then went behind the building next door, and it looked like he may actually have waited to make sure there were no cars,” Alder continued.
Alder said that in response to what happened, the Ultramar will be installing a buzzer system. Customers will have to be buzzed in and out, at least at certain times of the day.
Burnside-Holmes said that while she was upset, she was not going to let this event taint her vision of Sackville. “These things happen everywhere, but I am afraid. It’s going to be a conscious decision not to change my behaviour,” she said.
“I think that having compassion for him is a good coping mechanism for ourselves, despite whether or not he deserves it,” Burnside-Holmes said. “But it’s usually people who are in dangerous situations who put other people in dangerous situations. I’m kind of thinking that’s what was going on, especially since he seemed really young.”
RCMP Officer LeBlanc, one of the officers on the case, could not comment on whether the RCMP had any leads, as the investigation is ongoing. He warned Sackville workers to be vigilant in the coming days. “If they see something suspicious, they should give us a call,” LeBlanc said.