Police immediately spotted a man walking toward a vehicle parked near a trash bin by Missler’s IGA, and officers ordered him to get to the ground.
Instead, Michael Fette, 46, of Lancaster, attempted to run, Holden said. After a brief chase he dropped to the ground and police arrested him.
During the short run, Fette ditched a bucket with suspected evidence from the robbery and the cash he’d made off with — more than $29,000, Holden said.
Clerks from the IGA on Blossom Centre Boulevard told police Fette walked into the store and said his cell phone was missing. When they started to help him look for it, he pulled a gun and forced a few of the clerks into the store’s front office, where he took the $29,000 from the safe, Holden said.
The robbery was interrupted when the store owners walked in after closing time, at about 10:17 p.m.
Fette then left the building, trying to get to his 2003 Jeep before officers arrived, Holden said. A witness called police after seeing the suspect trying to hide in a vehicle.
“(The caller) thought it might have been someone using drugs,” Holden said.
When officers arrested Fette, he refused to identify himself. Later, while searching his vehicle, police found his identification, ammunition and two bags of zip ties.
Fette also had zip ties in his waistband when officers cuffed him. In the tossed bucket, they found the cash, more zip ties, a 9 mm handgun, ammunition and the hat clerks said he was wearing when he walked into the store, Holden said.
Fette appears to have acted alone in the botched robbery, and it’s unclear why he was in the Willard area, Holden said.
No customers were in the store at the time of the robbery, and no one was injured.
According to Fairfield County Municipal Court records, Lancaster detectives charged Fette in March with grand theft of a motor vehicle, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Pending an appearance in Norwalk Municipal Court, he remained in the Huron County jail Monday without bond.