WATERVILLE — A lone robber got away with cash late Thursday after threatening employees with a knife at the off-track betting parlor on College Avenue, police Chief Joseph Massey said today.

The robbery occurred around 10 p.m. when two employees were counting receipts for the night, Massey said. The robber fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash and has not been caught.

“If anybody has any information, we would certainly appreciate their giving us a call,” Massey said early today.

He said the police communications center got a report of the robbery at about 10:20 p.m. Thursday.

“One of the employees said they had just been robbed by a male who was threatening them with a knife,” Massey said. “So, obviously, we had officers immediately dispatched to that facility and we had help from neighboring  police departments. We saturated the area.”

The off-track betting parlor is located in the basement of the former John Martin’s Manor.

Massey said the two employees were counting the day’s receipts in a room that adjoins the betting area, just before the robbery occurred.

“Shortly after they started that process, they heard a door open and close. After a few minutes, one of the employees saw a lone man approach with a dark hooded jacket, with a knife in his hand, a black and white bandana covering the bottom half of his face and the hood on the jacket pulled down. The only thing they could really see were the eyes.”

The employees described the man as about 6-feet-tall, slender or slim, and wearing gloves, Massey said.

“The robbery took less than a minute. He just demanded the money which they already had out and counted. They gave him the money and he took off on foot.”

When police arrived, they surrounded the building and scoured streets and wooded areas around  it, Massey said.

“We were not able to come up with anybody that matched that description, which was very vague,” he said. “Eventually, a state police trooper (Scott Dalton) brought a dog in, but it was not successful — the dog was not able to pick up any track that we could follow. We speculate the person probably got into a vehicle at some point and left the area.”

No one was hurt in the robbery, he said. “It all happened very quickly.”

Massey would not reveal the amount of money taken, or whether it was a significant amount.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call police at 680-4700.

“We have very little to go on at this point,” Massey said. “We got a vague description. There were no other witnesses inside at the time other than the two employees. He (robber) was able to leave before we got up there, so this is one of those cases that is going to take a significant effort to try to come up with some leads.”

Police did speak to a man and woman who were out walking around the time of the robbery and they said they had seen a male run to a white sport utility vehicle and the vehicle then took off, Massey said. He said police  put out information Thursday night of the possibility that a white sport utility vehicle was involved.

The case will require a lot of leg work by detectives, who will put feelers out to the community and talk to people to see if anyone has an unusual amount of money, according to Massey.

Detective David Caron is the primary investigator in the case, Massey said. Sgt. Bill Bonney was the on-duty supervisor Thursday night and Detective-Sgt. Michael Benecke and Caron came in to work on the case.
 

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