, Salem, MA

November 14, 2012

Arrest turns up robbery suspect

Man charged with domestic assault also wanted in armed holdup at store

The Salem News

---- — DANVERS — A well-known furniture-maker who spent many years in Salem is now facing charges that he robbed a Danvers supermarket at gunpoint Saturday evening, making off with more than $5,000.

Roger Hedstrom, 57, of 238 Main St., Rowley, was caught after police in that town, called to his home the following day for a domestic disturbance, recognized him from a surveillance photo on the all-points bulletin put out by police after the holdup.

Hedstrom is charged with armed robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, the black handgun he allegedly pointed at three Market Basket clerks shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, according to a complaint and warrant issued yesterday in Salem District Court.

Court papers say the robber, described as a 50ish man in a dark jacket and baseball cap, approached the customer service counter at the Endicott Street supermarket, stuck the handgun under the glass window and demanded money.

The robber then handed one clerk a brown paper bag to fill with cash.

As the clerks emptied register drawers, they also pressed a holdup alarm. Someone else in the store called 911.

The robber was described as “impatient” in court papers, calling out “hurry up.”

The clerks handed him the bag, containing more than $5,000, and he fled. Another employee who was outside on a break saw the man run toward BJ’s Wholesale Club in an adjacent shopping plaza.

A search by the Danvers police dog and a state police airplane turned up nothing, aside from a homeless man who had started a small campfire in the area.

Then, on Sunday, police in Rowley arrested Hedstrom on a charge of domestic assault and assault and battery on a police officer.

Both Rowley officers and a Sheriff’s Department employee recognized him from the bulletin put out after Saturday’s holdup.

Police had obtained clear images from the store’s security cameras, and the officers concluded that Hedstrom bore a “striking” resemblance to the middle-aged man seen robbing the store, according to court papers.

Also raising their suspicions was a comment that Hedstrom allegedly made to his wife as he was being arrested, to the effect that if she told anyone what he had done, “I will put you 6 feet under.”

Employees later identified Hedstrom in photo arrays they were shown by Danvers police.

Hedstrom was in Newburyport District Court yesterday to face the domestic abuse charge; he’s expected to appear in Salem District Court as soon as today to answer to the armed robbery case.

He was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail in the Rowley case, with conditions that he stay away from the victim and submit to random alcohol screens, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex County district attorney’s office.

Hedstrom had run a business called Hedstrom Fine Woodworking at several locations in Salem until a few years ago. He appeared on the PBS show “This Old House” when the program was renovating a historic Salem home in the 1990s.

Last year, according to court records, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing more than $300,000 in liabilities and just a handful of assets, including his woodworking tools. The bankruptcy was granted in January.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.