Man Accused of Robbing Haverhill Cannabis Shop Reportedly Gave Himself Away to Police

The CNA Stores logo on a wall inside the River Street shop. (WHAV News photograph.)

The man accused of robbing a River Street cannabis shop at gunpoint Wednesday, who was arrested two hours later, lived down the street and briefly got away with about $1,000 and a cannabis product called “Waffle Cone.”

At his arraignment Thursday in Haverhill District Court on an armed robbery charge, Tony Hernandez, 51, of 215 River St., was ordered to face a dangerousness hearing and return to court next Thursday.

According to a Haverhill Police reports, patrolmen were dispatched to CNA Stores, 558 River St., at 12:31 p.m., where a “silent panic alarm” had been activated three times. Store employees said Hernandez came in and placed a gun, later identified as a Powerline .177 BB gun, on the counter and demanded to be given access to the store’s rear. Hernandez questioned whether the alarm had been activated and took all of the money from the cash register along with the one-eighth ounce of the Solar brand Waffle Cone. He fled, changing his clothing in an alley.

Haverhill detectives asked for the Essex County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit which arrived with K-9 Riggs who followed Hernandez’ scent to the alley. The Waffle Cone package was found outside the store and BB gun discovered in brush near a Margin Street fire hydrant. Surveillance video from another business confirmed Hernandez’ exit path.

Police later saw a man matching Hernandez’ description on Washington Street. From an unmarked police car, a CNA store employee said she was “fairly confident” it was the same man who robbed the store. Detectives noted the man referenced the robbery, asking “Did you catch the robber?” even though police had not mentioned the crime. At the police station, while Hernandez was using the telephone, officers overheard him mention that he was caught stealing with a gun.

A search of Hernandez’ apartment, authorized by a search warrant, located cash and a “written robbery note.”

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