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MIDDLETON — An armed robbery at the JC Grill and Convenience Store was thwarted last night by a 55-year-old man with a prosthetic leg who tripped the robber as he attempted to escape, police said.
A clerk joined in the struggle that followed, and the two held onto the robber until police arrived.
Eric Homen, 23, of 7 Raymond Circle, Peabody, was arrested at the scene and will be charged with armed robbery while masked and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to a press release from police Chief James DiGianvittorio.
Police did not identify the customer or the clerk last night, although the customer was described as a neighbor of the store at 323 N. Main St.
Middleton police initially responded to a 911 call at 10:51 p.m. They were told that a man had come in, masked, displaying a black handgun and demanding cash. Watching what was happening, the customer basically stuck his leg out and tripped the would-be robber as he attempted to make his getaway, police said.
Officers Robert Currier and Adam Maccini made the arrest. They later determined the weapon to be a .177-caliber air pellet pistol.
While not likely to be a deadly weapon, Currier noted that it surely looks deadly enough. Both the customer and the clerk were "nervous" after their ordeal.
"Everybody was really lucky," Currier said. Attempting to intercede in such a situation, he said, should only be done "with safety in mind."
Homen, who did not resist arrest, is due to be arraigned today in Salem District Court.