Shots rang out early Thursday morning on the streets of Melrose near the Hub as an armored truck security guard fired at two thieves who ran off with the bag of cash he was trying to deliver to a local check cashing store.
The shootout happened just before 8 a.m. outside of David’s Check Cashing on Third Avenue and 155th Street. Police said two unidentified men–one wearing a construction hat and an orange vest–approached the security guard in his armored truck as he was unloading his delivery. The suspects sprayed mace at the Rapid Armour Company guard, who then fired at them with his handgun. The suspects wrestled his firearm away before fleeing on foot down 155th Street, turning onto Elton Avenue and escaping with an unspecified amount of cash.
“I just started hearing shots, I didn’t know what was happening,” said Abdel Akaaboune, who works at a convenience store across the street from the check cashing store. ”I didn’t think it was guns.”
Remnants of the robbery could be spotted at the crime scene. A white construction helmet was dropped in front of the store. A single bullet hole punctured the window of a Foreman Mills across the street, and the front door of the check-chasing store was shattered. Another bullet hit the door of an MTA bus. A trail of blood led up 155th Street toward Elton Avenue. Witnesses said the fleeing suspects left behind a handgun.
Neither the driver, the security guard, nor bystanders were hurt.
Residents said that even though they’re used to violence, this wild-west-like shootout defied belief.
“There have been robberies around here before with knives and things, but nothing like this,” said David Luciano, who owns an auto shop across the street that was robbed four years ago. “To try to rob an armored truck, that takes some serious guts.”
Police have asked the public to help them identify the suspects. One is described as a 5-foot-4-inch black male, between ages 25 and 40, with a “low caesar-cut hairstyle and bad skin.” The second suspect is a 5-foot-8-inch black male, in his 40s, last seen wearing black sunglasses and a tight black skull cap beneath the white construction helmet that was left at the scene.