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Robbed at gunpoint, Thorold store owner went right back to work

Sue Sarcino of Little Pine Variety says she is not going to let the incident get her down; 'I don’t get bullied. I’m not going to sit in my closet and cower over every noise I hear'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A version of this article originally appeared on ThoroldToday on Nov. 24.

Last week, Sue Sarcino was standing behind the counter of her store, Little Pine Variety on Pine St. S, when a masked man walked in and demanded money at gunpoint.

“You normally don’t get a chance to think too quickly,” says Sarcino, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “You just see a gun so I hesitated. I thought: ‘Well, I only got 80 bucks in here,’ so I gave it to him. He ran out and got on a bicycle.”

When the police showed up and investigated the surrounding area, they found the bicycle, along with the robber's Tommy Hilfiger jacket and black mask.

“I find it quite humorous because he took $80 and he leaves his $200 coat,” says Sarcino.

The police officers also recovered the pistol used during the robbery, which turned out to be a replica gun.

“I’m not a gun expert so I assumed it was a gun,” Sarcino says. “We didn’t find out until after the fact that it was a fake pistol but that’s not the point. You don’t point guns at people.”

Not one to wallow, Sarcino re-opened her store that same day.

“They made me close while they investigated but as soon as they were done, I opened,” says Sarcino. “I’m a self-proprietor, it’s slow, I’m overtaxed, my bills are high. I got to try and make a few bucks.”

Even though the robbery was a setback, Sarcino is trying to keep her store afloat just like every other business owner.

“It’s slower because people are so weary of their buck these days with the economy,” she says. “People have to eat food first before they’re going to eat chips and cookies. It is what it is and I always keep the till low anyway. People get upset when I can’t break a hundred but I don’t keep it here.”

There's a slim chance the stolen money will ever be recovered.

“The money is gone and that’s fine,” Sarcino says. “After he had left and the cops were swirling around — before we knew it was not a real gun — in my mind it was like: ‘Well, you know maybe it saved some little old lady getting knocked down in the parking lot with a gun in her face.’”

At the end of the day, Sarcino says she just wants to move on from the incident.

“What am I supposed to do?” she says. “Cry over $80? I don’t get bullied. I’m not going to sit in my closet and cower over every noise I hear.”

The only thing Sarcino can hope for is that police catch the robber.

“Obviously he was from around here because he knew how to escape properly,” Sarcino says. “Why this store when there are so many other ones? The bigger ones have more business and more cash flow, I don’t know. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

The suspect is described as male, 20 to 30 years of age, and wearing a black/grey Tommy Hilfiger jacket, and a black mask with a white Air Jordan logo. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the lead detective at 905-688-4111, option 3, ext. 1009590.

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About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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