Shop worker relives how gunman wearing clown mask threatened to shoot her
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
The victim of a terrifying armed city robbery has described how a raider wearing a clown mask threatened to shoot her if she did not empty the tills.
It is now more than two months since police were called to reports of an armed raid at Farm Foods off Westwick Street in Norwich.
A man, armed with a handgun, threatened a shop worker while she was closing up the store with a colleague before he fled with a quantity of cash.
Armed police were deployed and a search for the suspect was carried out but he was not found.
Now, the 24-year-old supervisor has bravely spoken out about her ordeal, and released fresh details, in a bid to help police catch the robber - and stop it happening to anyone else.
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The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she and a colleague had closed up the store and had been cleaning up for the day when the attacker struck.
She was at the shutters near the back of the store - and had been about to turn and get her bag - when suddenly “there he was”.
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The victim said she “screamed” before the man, who was wearing a clown mask and had a gun, came behind her.
He put her in a “choke hold position” and said: “Don’t get shot for Farm Foods”.
She said she could feel the gun in her back as the robber marched her up to where the cash registers, which had been taken upstairs, were.
The victim said she was scrambling round in her pocket for her keys but was told “You’ve got five minutes or I will shoot you in the leg”.
She said: “I thought I’m not getting shot, I will open the safe”.
The robber had demanded to see where “the big safe” was.
He then put £568 in cash - that was in notes and coins - in a draw string JD sports bag before he fled the scene.
The victim said she “was in pieces” after the robber left.
But she did manage to contact both the police and her managers to alert them as to what had just happened.
She said: “You don’t think it’s going to happen to you.
“You read about it but think that’s never going to happen - especially at Farm Foods in Norwich.
“We get people come on and shoplift but then this happens.”
Although the victim was not able to see what the suspect looked like, she said he sounded like a “wannabe gangster” in the way that he spoke.
She also said that he sounded “quite young”.
The victim has spoken out to try and encourage anyone who might have information about what happened to come forward and contact police to stop others having to go through what she endured.
She said: “I just want them to catch him so it doesn’t happen to anyone else because I know how it feels and would hate for someone else to feel like that.”
The victim had a week off work following the raid but has since returned to work.
She said she is “still a bit jumpy” and is “scared of my own shadow” but has been helped by her “amazing” work colleagues.
Det Insp Chris Burgess said: “We’re keen for the public to come forward with any information about this.”
He said the new information revealed by the victim could trigger something in those who might have information about the crime or culprit.
He urged anyone who was aware of a friend or family member wearing a clown-type mask around the time of the offence to contact them.
He said: “Please get in touch with the investigation team and hopefully that will help us find out who this person is because they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.”
He also commended the bravery of the victim as well as the way she has supported the police.
He said: “It must’ve been awful and her bravery has been considerable.”
Det Insp Burgess stressed it was an isolated incident.
He described it as a “desperate incident from a desperate person” who needs to be caught.
Det Insp Burgess added it was believed the offender “took advantage” of lockdown conditions with fewer people out and about.
The suspect was about 6ft tall, slim, and wore a mask that covered his face.
He was dressed in a black coloured hooded jumper with a white pattern or white writing on the front, and dark coloured trousers.
• Anyone with any information should call police, quoting incident number 497 of April 6 2020, on 101.