Victim in latest Pittsfield robbery recounts close encounter with gunman


PITTSFIELD — Alexander Peaslee was unequivocal in his description of the ordeal: "life-threatening."

One minute he was eating a sandwich and talking to a group of neighborhood kids while working the counter at his dad's store, Peaslee's Package & Variety.

The next he was staring down the barrel of a gun, then retreating, finally having his life threatened as the intruder cocked his weapon and demanded Peaslee return to the counter and hand over all the money in the cash register.

"I hauled away to the back of the store, and he said he was going to shoot me if I didn't come back and give him the money," Peaslee said. "I was terrified, but happy I wasn't shot at that point, because I was expecting to hear the shot when I ran."

The thief made off with $1,500 from the register in the robbery, which occurred about 7:45 p.m. Saturday.

His father, Shane Peaslee, later issued a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

"We're a new store, and couldn't really afford to lose that $1,500 from the register," the elder Peaslee said. "We're going to have to work a little harder."

He added, "The No. 1 thing, though, is I'm glad my boy is OK. You look at the video and he looks like he's trying to shoot the gun. Let's get this guy before he kills somebody. We're pretty confident justice will be served."

He said people have been providing "promising leads" about who the assailant might be.

Surveillance footage from the store shows the robber rush into the store and immediately thrust the handgun into Alexander Peaslee's face. He is wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, bright orange gloves and a white bandana across his face.

Alexander Peaslee is seen as he runs off screen, then returns, opens the register, and begins tossing bills at the assailant, who continues to threaten him.

"He carries the sandwich throughout the whole ordeal," Shane Peaslee said. "We busted his chops about that. You have got to find ways to have fun with these things."

He added, "We just opened in July, and have a strong customer base. People are outraged."

It marked the eighth armed robbery in the city since late November.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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