By Kelli Ameling, Bruce Bentley Ryan Jeltema and Cory Smith
Daily News staff writers
GREENVILLE — Police are searching for the man who allegedly robbed the Family Dollar in Greenville at gunpoint on Thursday evening.
Greenville Public Safety Sgt. Dennis Magirl said the robber apparently walked into the store around 8:30 p.m. armed with a handgun and wearing a black ski mask.
The suspect pointed a handgun at the cashier and demanded cash. Two employees emptied the contents of the cash register, then locked themselves in the manager’s office in the back of the store with a customer who was in the store at the time and called 911.
“The employees went back there on their own,” Magirl said.
Police treated the incident as a hostage situation when the arrived because the suspect’s whereabouts were unknown at the time.
“They (employees) were not sure if he was still in the store,” Magirl said.
Police immediately set up a perimeter armed with large rifles. Patrol officers entered the building and brought the customer and both employees outside to safety.
Then a Michigan State Police K-9 team searched the store to see if the suspect was still inside.
Detectives interviewed the employees at the Greenville Department of Public Safety headquarters. All three declined comment to The Daily News.
Magirl said nobody was injured.
“Everybody’s fine. Nobody was hurt,” he said.
Police blocked off the area around the store at the corner of Franklin and Grove streets for about an hour while searching for the suspect and collecting evidence.
K-9 teams from around the area converged in Greenville to help with the search. Gary Valentine, interim director of the Greenville Department of Public Safety, said K-9 teams never found a good scent trail.
Police are still looking for a man about six feet tall and 170 pounds wearing green gloves, black boots, dark colored jeans and a gray and white plaid hoodie with a white hood. They are not sure of the suspect’s last known location or direction of travel.
Anyone with information on the suspect or his whereabouts is asked to call Montcalm County Central Dispatch at (989) 831-5253, Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or the Greenville Department of Public Safety at (616) 754-9161.
“Complaint is open and actively being investigated,” Valentine said.
This is the second armed robbery in Greenville in three months. Huntington Bank downtown was robbed at gunpoint on Nov. 9.
The FBI is handling that case. Agents have reported little progress in the investigation.
Valentine would not comment on whether the Family Dollar and Huntington Bank robberies are related.