Police Confirm Clerk Thwarted Robber With Gun

Police confirm that a clerk with a gun managed to deter a would-be robber, armed with a knife.

Surveillance video of a robber who entered the Shell station on Main Street in Nashua on Oct. 14. Credit: Nashua PD
Surveillance video of a robber who entered the Shell station on Main Street in Nashua on Oct. 14. Credit: Nashua PD
NASHUA, NH - Nashua Police Lt. Denis Linehan confirmed that a knife-wielding robber who attempted to rob the Shell convenience store/gas station on Main Street in the early hours of Oct. 14 was apparently scared off when the clerk responded by showing a handgun.

It's not a detail included in the official police press release, for good reason, Linehan said. However, once that detail was posted via Facebook on Monday, it has become a confirmed, although reluctant, detail.

"I can tell you that the clerk was armed, and so when the suspect presented a knife, he responded by showing his gun, and the suspect fled," Linehan said. 

"But having that information out there makes our job harder. Now we have nothing that transpired between the victim and the suspect that's not public information," Linehan said.

It is one of the hazards of the information age, and particularly social media, Linehan said.

Nashua Police on Tuesday released basic information about the attempted robbery, which happened Oct. 14 at about 3 a.m. at the Shell gas station at 301 Main Street. Linehan also released a surveillance photo and a second photo, showing a jacket believed to be worn by the suspect, which was found by police during a search of the area.

The robber is described as a white or Hispanic male, between 6-feet and 6-feet-2 inches tall, with a medium build.

"What I'm left with is 20 unsolved armed robberies," Linehan said. 

"I know everybody is happy that a clerk scared off a suspect. I realize it's newsworthy. And I understand it's been posted on Facebook that, because of having the gun and violating company policy, this clerk lost his job. That, I can't confirm. But certain details of a crime can help us identify someone. You know, it happens sometimes that people will confess to a crime they didn't commit, whether it's for the notoriety, or whatever. When we limit the information we release, it's with good reason," Linehan said.

Attempts by Nashua Patch to reach Cothran for comment have been unsuccessful. However, a clerk working the day shift on Tuesday at the Shell station, when asked if it was true that Cothran had lost his job, said, simply, "Bear doesn't work here anymore."

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Division at 603-594-3500 or the Nashua Crimeline at 603-589-1665.

Editor's Note: The Shell Station is owned and operated by Mass.- based Nouria Energy Corp., which provided a written statement in response to a request for comment for this story, which you can read here.

Albert Gazalooch October 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM
What if he had just grabbed a sweet roll and chewed it into the shape of a gun? Fired of course!
Sheriffchris October 16, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Any one who owns or carries a gun must be bad, a person who has the audacity to protect himself and his employers property is the worse of all., truly unredeemable !!!! welcome to the anti-gun liberal world !!
Joe Welch October 16, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Never ever try to help the wealthy protect their money. They only believe you would take it yourself.
T Rock October 16, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Live Free or Die - Just don't have a gun while you are being "free"
Gale October 16, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Yeah, I worked for a convenience store/gas station years ago. After having had an incident where a man had exposed himself and masturbated all over the front door I decided to arm myself and took a little .25 auto handgun and stuck it in the drawer under the register. Mind you the store had been robbed several time prior to the incident. The manager came in one day opened the drawer and declared, "This is against store policy, you can't bring it to work!" I said, "That's fine, then you don't need me here and walked out."
Mark Kampe October 16, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Technically In Most states you would have to have a permit to carry a Handgun which I believe should be encouraged by convenience store owners to their employees.Not Discouraged!It's a very Dangerous Job and you Need to protect yourself from the animals we live amongst.
Joe Mamma October 16, 2013 at 07:10 PM
The clerk should press charges against the store ownership for attempted murder since it was one of their customers who tried to kill the clerk with a knife. The clerk should also sue the ownership for not allowing Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights.
Dan Crabtree October 16, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Oh yea.. i now see why the guy was fired as it is new hampshire a democrat state and the worker infringed on the robbers rights...
Al Cloutier October 16, 2013 at 09:49 PM
I wouldn't work there if I couldn't carry. The first round is a rubber one. Watch out for the rest of them.
Faith October 17, 2013 at 12:24 AM
The SHELL Corp. home office is actually in Houston TEXAS. It would be resonable to assume that policy on gun protection comes out of the home office in Texas and NOT from NH. As far as New Hampshire is concerned there are plenty of Obama voters who have NO Problem with a mentally stable person carrying a hand gun for protection. HOWEVER .... Do I want ANYONE just toting around a fully automatic sub machine gun with a 50 bullet clip? HELL NO. People who can't make the distinction between those two scenarios are MOST welcome to live far away from me.
Rich October 17, 2013 at 08:36 AM
The reason companies like this do not allow their employees carrying guns has more to do with liability issues than anything else. If the clerk ever felt threatened and used the gun to kill someone, it is possible the clerk could be charged with murder or assault if that clerk over-reacts. There is a fine line between defending yourself and ending a threat to becoming the aggressor. As an example, a robber comes in and actually fires a gun but does not hit the clerk. The robber than leaves the store, but the clerk chases the robber shooting him in the back. The robber is not killed but paralyzed for life. This becomes a nightmare for the business as they will now be sued and will most likely end up paying out millions in damages.
Carolyn Isterling October 17, 2013 at 08:58 AM
anyone who works in any gas station liquior store needs lexon glass protection bullets will not go through heavy protection barriers,which is best do nothing,fine good employees who are protected,stop robberies..why do these companies not protect their help..
Carolyn Isterling October 17, 2013 at 09:00 AM
wise up companies protect your employees and stop robbers now.put up protective glass that cannot be shot through,in Indiana most stores have these installed..
Hilltopper October 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Ms. Isterling, Good Point. While travelling in Florida on Business recently, I observed quite a few of the Gas/Conv. Stores that are open 24/7 lock down around 11 PM and they have windows with pass thorough fixtures like those found at banks drive up windows to protect their staff. If a customer wants a Coke and bag of chips, the customer pays, the clerk will go get them and finailize the transaction through these units. A very minor renovation to protect the staff.
Daniel Staggers October 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Does this mean Shell corporate would rather it's employee get stabbed then being able to protect his own life? Isn't that against the Constitution?
Michael Ro October 17, 2013 at 02:35 PM
@ Faith - Do I want ANYONE just toting around a fully automatic sub machine gun with a 50 bullet clip? HELL NO. People who can't make the distinction between those two scenarios are MOST welcome to live far away from me. See this is what the government has you scared to death about. FULL AUTOMATIC SUB MACHINE GUNS have been outlawed for 20+ years. The only people with them are special stamp holders. (Basically the gun had to be in a customers hands before the mid 90's). NO ONE can purchase a brand new automatic weapon. They aren't available at all. If you want to buy a used AUTOMATIC weapon - it will cost you in excess of $10,000 for even the most beat up of guns. Some of the gun ranges have them to rent (just at the range - they never leave the range). The ranges are subject to complete inspection at any time by the ATF and must have proper locks on their weapons, proper safes etc. The only thing I agree with is that private transfers and gun shows should have to do 100% background checks the same as gun stores are required to do.
Yoosoo Dum October 17, 2013 at 05:53 PM
garbage like this from shell made me stop using shell products 40 years ago.
Poot October 17, 2013 at 07:18 PM
It's pretty sad the number of cowboys here that think that a shootout is the answer. The owner pays insurance. The guy was a fool for brandishing, he should've just handed over the money, whether he had a gun on him or not. The owner was right, the last thing I'd want is for my store and customers to become a target because some guy ran a robber off.
Michael Ro October 17, 2013 at 08:00 PM
@Poot: I understand the owner pays insurance that is fine. However, I know I would feel terrible if I had a specific rule in place that stated "concealed carry permit or not, you are not allowed to carry while at work" then find out one of my employees is stabbed to death. How could I look his family in the face knowing I took away his constitutional right to bear arms for self defense? How about I take away the right to lock your front door? Or take away your right to own/have a gun at your home? I tell you, yes you can own a gun, but have to store it at the range and not allowed to take it with you.
Douglas N Rebecca Smith October 17, 2013 at 09:44 PM
people should carry firearms how many shooting sprees have killed numbers of people. If only one person from the area had a gun it would have ended
Randy Fisher October 18, 2013 at 01:51 AM
You are all wrong. I am a Republican, gun owner, ex-cab driver and ex-pizza deliverer. I have been robbed many times both at the store and as a mobile ATM machine. The purpose behind the policy is to reduce the risk posed to the employee. The robber understands that the clerk can not get into the safe and only wants the ready access money. Statistics are overwhelming that employees that cooperated rarely get seriously injured. Furthermore, injuries sustained by a gun are statistically far more serious and life threatening then a knife. BUT when robbers begin to fear they may encounter a gun, they will upgrade from fake weapons and knives to real gun, increasing the employee's risk. Also you are going to be looking for an opportunity to get to and use your weapon which the robber will read and dramatically increase their fear which is more likely to lead them panic and do something stupid. Companies understand that the absolute best defense for the employee is to cooperate and lose a little money, let fear of passive defenses such as video cameras, being caught and jail time serve as the deterrents. The actions of this clerk raised the stakes for every late night money handler out there. And I guarantee you should this robber (or one of his associates) decides to rob another location, it will not be with a just a knife.
Mark Burdman October 18, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Shell is upset because the Clerk had a gun and fought back. Without the Gun the clerk had a big chance of being murdered. Yes it is against your company policy. Is getting murdered covered in your employees handbook?Shell keep your horse crap job. The man is working a grave yard job for next to nothing in pay. More importantly the clerk was able to go home at the end of the day. With out that Gun that robber might have carved the Clerk up. I am cutting up my shell card.
ralph October 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM
@Todd Odson- You are a clueless as they come. Typical response from someone who knows nothing about legal carry and conceal. You have a point on him losing his position, but your mockery of the descriptive of the gun as a "concealed deadly weapon" leads me to believe you are simply uninformed about gun laws and legal conceal and carry laws. An individual has the right to protect himself if he or she feels that they are in grave danger. This perp presented a knife. That is justification for this clerk or individual to pull his weapon and could have used deadly force if he found it necessary. It tells me that you have neve been put in that position. Therefore I find you to be an armchair quarterback. Remember the gun only becomes deadly when someone pulls the trigger. In this case the clerk felt the simple action of showing the perp the gun was deterent enough to quell the robbery attempt. You cannot use the descriptive of "concealed deadly weapon" when there was obviously no death.
BassGreat October 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Yes, there are rules that are to be followed. An employer has to be concerned with what ifs. Now had the gun gone off accidentally and hit a customer or another employee, you'd all have something to say. Good thing is, you busy-bodies can offer him a job -- Yours!
Rooftop Voter October 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM
So the store clerk is unarmed and gets killed by the robber. At his graveside eulogy the former employeer can proudly boast he was the best employee we HAD.
Mike Wanta October 18, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Because it is so much better to get robbed and have your clerk shot &/or killed by a criminal that is most certainly armed.
Tracy Lee Nash October 18, 2013 at 07:51 PM
How ridiculous!
Aip Daily October 19, 2013 at 08:40 AM
Randy Fisher - Absolutely right. Good to see someone here has their head on straight. I've worked in a gas station in the past and the policy was that if someone comes in to rob the place, you just give them what they want and call the police after they leave. As you said, if you allow the employees to have guns, that means that the criminals are going to bring guns and that makes the situation far more dangerous because someone who is robbing a gas station is probably desperate and when someone is desperate, things can escalate quickly.
sal the fish October 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Gun beats knife.
TheOldGuy October 20, 2013 at 09:29 AM
@Aip Daily; Yep, because unarmed clerks who have cooperated have never been maimed or killed by their attackers. "Bad Guys" never bring guns to robberies unless one has been pulled on "them" during the previous attempted robberies. Thank you so much for clarifying that for me.


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