A robbery turns into a bomb scare, shutting down several blocks on Olympic Street in Springfield early this morning. Springfield Police say a man got away with an undisclosed amount of cash because of the bomb threat.
Surveillance video allowed them to narrow down a description of the suspect. They say a white man between 40 to 50-years-old, medium build, wearing a baseball hat, a black western style shirt and jeans, was caught leaving a device at the front of Patty’s Deli, and then coming back hours later, taking with him an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect grabbed the cash mere minutes before Springfield Police arrived around 1:00am. Right before, the woman working at Patty’s Deli on the corner of 23rd and Olympic Street, answered a threatening phone call, demanding that she place cash outside the building, or a bomb would explode.
“It was some sort of a pipe, rapped in tape and had a blinking light on it,” said Springfield Police Sergeant Tom Rappe.
The employee did as she was told. The Eugene Explosive Disposal Unit deemed it safe, a fake device meant to intimidate the employee into handing over cash. Police say she did the right thing.
“You never know if it’s factual or not. Money or human life, there’s no comparison,” said Sgt. Rappe.
In 22 years on the job, Sgt. Rappe says he’s never seen a robbery in the form of a bomb threat. Verizon’s assistant manager Josh Keenan, who works right next door to Patty’s Deli, says the area is familiar to robberies, but he also thinks it’s a sign of the times.
“There’s been a lot more robberies lately, like people getting away with bank robberies, people holding up little mom and pop shops like Pattys,” said Keenan.
Springfield Police say they’re teaming up with Eugene Police, to see if this robbery is related to two others similar to it, that took place in Eugene in the last week. Investigators believe the suspect could be a local resident. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police.