Armed man tries to rob Village Variety in Etna

Posted Sept. 06, 2010, at 1:01 p.m.

ETNA, Maine — Investigators with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department and Maine State Police spent much of Monday at the Etna Village Variety store investigating an attempted armed robbery that occurred Sunday night, Sheriff’s Department Detective John Trask said late Monday.

“We have some very strong leads and we’re following up on them as diligently as possible,” he said.

Because of the ongoing investigation, Trask said he was unable to release any details about the crime.

Owner Debra Caldwell was working the cash register Sunday when a man with a handgun approached the counter just as the business was closing for the night.

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“He got away with nothing,” she said Monday. “Nobody got hurt. We all were shaken. We’re still shaking today.”

The suspect, who had been in the store earlier Sunday evening, was spooked and took off. No customers were in the store at 8:30 p.m. when the attempted robbery occurred, but four of her relatives were, the owner said.

Caldwell said the suspect had been in her store a couple of times, and when he stopped by earlier Sunday “it was packed” with customers.

Caldwell purchased the rural country store nearly six years ago, and in that time no one has ever tried to rob it, she said.

When she saw the gun, Caldwell said, she was scared for her life and for those around her, but “I was shocked more than anything.”

The store is located at the junction of Routes 2 and 143.

State police were seen using a dog to sweep the area around the store Monday morning, and left around 12:30 p.m.

“We’re still in the investigative stage,” Trask said.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Department said they would release more information as it becomes available.

Those with information about the attempted robbery are asked to call Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department at 947-4585.

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