Armed robbery shocker in L’Anse au Loup
L’Anse au Loup is a quiet rural community, one with very little crime and a strong sense of safety.
But on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the community was shocked by an armed robbery at the local grocery store.
Store owner Sonya Earle was one of three people working when the robbery occurred just 15 minutes before closing. She was in her office when the commotion began.
“A man came in,” Earle said in a phone interview from L’Anse au Loup last Thursday. “There were no other customers in the store at the time, and just two female staff members. And he came in and demanded cash from the first lady, and she bawled out to the second employee to come back. And that’s when he grabbed my second employee.”
Earle said the security cameras picked up the entire robbery, which showed the man forcing the woman to her knees and placing the blade of a knife against the back of her neck.
While loading bags with money from the registers, a cus- tomer arrived in the store, but the suspect didn’t notice.
“My employee actually looked at the customer, and I guess we could call her a hero in a sense,” said Earle. “She looked at her and she said, ‘don’t come in,’ she kind of mouthed it and used her hands to point and say go back out and go for help.”
“There were no other customers in the store at the time, and just two female staff members. And he came in and demanded cash from the first lady, and she bawled out to the second employee to come back. And that’s when he grabbed my second employee.” Store owner Sonya Earle
The customer took off, back through the door without being noticed by the man with the knife, she continued.
When he left the store, he said a bomb would be set off in the parking lot if anyone tried to call the police as soon as he left. He took the money and the phone receiver and left. The women did not recognize the man.
After locking the door and heading to Earle’s office, they received a phone call. The customer had contacted the Forteau detachment of the RCMP, and her boyfriend was calling to check on everyone at the store.
“We were feeling a bit nervous,” she said about waiting for the police to arrive.
All throughout, Earle remained calm. She even began brainstorming different secur- ity measures that she was going to implement in the near future, including a panic button.
The next few hours were hectic, with police coming in and taking evidence, reviewing the security footage and trying to identify the man who entered the store.
In a place like L’Anse au Loup, where the population is less than 600, people know each other well. The word spread like wildfire and everyone wanted to help out. Earle knew just what to do. “In an area like this, businesses work together,” she explained.
She called all the hotels in the area and told them what happened, and if anyone tried to check in with cash to contact her or the RCMP.
“They were so helpful, each of them,” she said. “They promised they would call back if anyone showed up.”
It wasn’t long before she received a call. A local hotel called while Earle was giving her statement to the RCMP. Soon the RCMP arrived at a local coffee shop and arrested a 35-year-old male and a 21-year-old female.
Although not surprising to Earle, the community was eager to help the RCMP.
Earle’s Grocery store where a robbery took place in L’Anse au Loup last week.