As of late afternoon Tuesday, detectives had not identified the suspects in the robbery, which happened at about noon at a Shell gas station on Riverstone Parkway not far from the hospital, said Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant.
Merchant said officers were on the scene within a brief time of receiving the call, but “It went down pretty quickly,” and as of yet, detectives have little to go on. They do, however, believe the suspects, who were armed with a handgun, were black men, and one wore a black hoodie and the other a blue hoodie, the police chief said.
Based on the statements of one witness, Merchant said detectives also believe the men could have fled from the scene on foot and then jumped in a getaway car.
“But we could never confirm that was the actual perpetrators,” Merchant said. “We’re going to look at every single theory.”
After receiving the call, Merchant said officers set up a perimeter around the store and did a K-9 search of the area.
“It would’ve been nice to have video,” Merchant said. “But there’s no video … which was disheartening.”
Aleem Basnet, the owner of the gas station, said that the two men confronted his wife when she was leaving the store to make a bank deposit of some $30,000.
“She’s still recuperating,” he said. “She was getting out of the store with the deposit and two guys came over to her by the car.”
Basnet said the men brandished the gun and told his wife to hand over the bank bag and her car keys.
“They just showed her the gun,” Basnet added. “But they didn’t hurt her.”
The suspects then fled with the bank bag and the car keys, although they left the car, the store owner said.
“It’s a newer model,” Basnet said. “So it’s push-button (ignition).”
Because of this new technology, he said the suspects apparently couldn’t figure out how to get the car cranked.
Basnet said his wife had never seen the men before and couldn’t guess how old they were, only that one was tall and one was short.
Merchant said the search for the suspects continues and that officers plan to encourage the store to invest in a camera system.
Northside Hospital-Cherokee resumed normal operations at about 2 p.m. after a partial lockdown, which administration ordered when police warned that the suspects could be in the area, said hospital spokeswoman Katherine Watson.