ST. ALBANS — A man wearing a blue ski mask jumped out of shrubbery Tuesday morning next to the St. Albans Mini Mart and told a woman he had a gun before he took her purse and ran off with it, according to the victim.

The woman, Rebecca Smith, who lives nearby, told the Morning Sentinel outside the store Tuesday morning that she was shaken and angered by the encounter. She said the masked robber told her he had a gun and took the purse out of her car about 11 a.m. as she went into the store to do some shopping.

Trooper Jillian Monahan, of the Maine State Police, who is investigating the case, said Smith did not tell police the man had mentioned a gun or that he had talked to her.

State police and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

Smith, 49, said outside the store Tuesday, “I got a couple of dollars out of my purse and was going into the store, set my purse on the seat of my car and I got halfway across the walkway and a guy come up out of the woods at the tree line, opened up my door, stole my purse and took off running.

“He said he had a gun. He just said, ‘I’m taking your purse,’ and off he went.”

Smith said the man had on a blue winter mask with holes cut into it and that she couldn’t see any part of him from the neck up. She said he appeared to be possibly in his 20s, standing about 5 feet, 8 inches tall; and he had a slim build.

Smith said the man ran off toward Cemetery Road in St. Albans, where that road joins Main Street and Palmyra Road, just south of the downtown village.

“I’m very shook up and I’m very angry,” she said. “You don’t treat people this way; you just don’t. It’s not something that should happen.”

Sue Neal, a Mini Mart employee, said a male customer made an unsuccessful attempt to run after the robber.

“He came back and said, ‘Nope — couldn’t catch him,’ and he apologized to the lady,” Neal said.

The matter of how much money Smith had in her purse when it was stolen also is at issue, Monahan said.

“We’re still trying to determine that,” Monahan said. “I’ve heard different things. It was first reported that there was no money, and now the victim is reporting that there is $250 missing. I’m getting different statements from what she originally reported.”

Monahan said the thought is that the man was someone local who might have had a car waiting to aid in his escape.

The trooper said there was a burglary at the store about three weeks earlier that she covered.

“We’re looking, suspectwise, if it could be the same person with a very similar build,” she said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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