By Kelli Ameling and Cory Smith
Daily News staff writers
GREENVILLE — Relationships a cashier has built with her customers over her seven years of employment at a Greenville convenience store may have helped her Thursday night when a man stormed into her store demanding money.
Debbie Edmaiston of Gowen was working her late-night shift at the Handy Market in Greenville, located at 813 S. Lafayette St., when a younger man wearing a mask told her to get behind the counter at approximately 6:30 p.m.
“It’s someone who has been here before,” Edmainston said as she walked through what had happened just a couple hours before. “He was very familiar. I recognized that voice. I have seen him before.”
Although she could not place who he was, Edmainston claims the suspect was a previous customer in the store.
“I think he knew who I was too,” she said.
As she went behind the counter, he proceeded to unroll a plastic bag for her to put money into.
“He said ‘I’m sorry – I have kids,’ he said it twice- ‘I’m sorry, I have kids,’” Edmaiston remembered.
The suspect was only in the store for a brief moment, she said, noting he was in a hurry to get out of there.
She described him as acting antsy and jittery, however, she is not sure if he had any weapons as she believes she only saw the suspect holding a rolled up plastic bag.
“It was probably his first rodeo,” she said. “I just wanted it to be over with.”
As the suspect left, Edmaiston yelled to a customer who began to enter the building to watch where the suspect ran to.
Edmaiston said he was on foot and ran through the apartments located across the street.
Robberies are not a common theme at the Handy Market as she confirmed there have only been two other situations that have occurred in her time working at the store.
The store was broken into about a year ago during after hours, and a robbery occurred about three years ago – which Edmaiston was working during as well.
Although Edmaiston described Thursday night’s events as “shaky,” she continued to work the remainder of her shift and the store will stay open for normal business hours.
“This is my job,” she said confidently. “It’s not my first rodeo. I can’t let it get to me.”
The Greenville Department of Public Safety Director Michael Pousak said the incident is still under investigation.
“We do not have a suspect at this time,” Pousak said.
If anyone has any information, they are encouraged to call the department at (616) 754-9161.
Greenville was assisted by the Michigan State Police Post, Montcalm County Sheriff ’s Office and a K-9 unit.