MANCHESTER — An observant off-duty police officer disarmed and arrested a robber who pulled out a knife and threatened the clerk at Bob’s Coins of Manchester Wednesday afternoon.
“He got him running out the door,” said the clerk at the 378 Kelley St. coin shop on the city’s West Side.
Officer Mike Buckley was off-duty when he arrived at Bob’s Coin Store in his vehicle and observed a male wearing a surgical or construction-type mask enter the store just ahead of him, according to Manchester police spokesman Lt. Maureen Tessier.
Tessier said Buckley also went into the store and noticed the man standing at the counter still wearing the mask. The man, apparently aware he was attracting attention, implied the mask was a precautionary measure due to allergies, but Buckley remained suspicious of him.
Buckley, not wanting to escalate an uncertain situation, proceeded with a brief transaction and left the store, retrieving his service weapon from his vehicle parked out front and identifying himself as a police officer to a nearby construction crew, alerting them to his suspicions.
Moments later, the suspect exited the store with the female clerk running after him yelling about a robbery attempt. Buckley was able to detain him at gunpoint without further incident. The suspect was compliant, following orders to lie on the ground, where Buckley and two construction workers were able to hold him until on-duty officers arrived to assist.
The investigation revealed that the man had entered the store, ultimately producing a knife and demanding cash. The clerk did not comply, instead calling out for police and scaring off the robber, who left the store empty-handed only to encounter Buckley outside. The suspect was identified as Ralph Blackey, 40, of Manchester.
No one was hurt in the incident which occurred about 12:30 p.m., Manchester police Sgt. Richard Brennan said.