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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.

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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