Police: Hatfield man’s robbery plan thwarted after he ran out of gas

  • This image shows items Deerfield police confiscated from a driver they say planned to rob a store or gas station. Deerfield Police Department

For the Bulletin
Thursday, January 26, 2017

DEERFIELD — A seemingly harmless request for help by a driver stranded during Tuesday morning’s storm may have thwarted an armed robbery, police say.

Police say that about 5:45 a.m. they came across Eric Dunn, 34, of North Hatfield, whose car had run out of gas, and in the course of helping him get gas concluded he was planning to rob a convenience store or gas station.

Dunn, 34, was arraigned in Greenfield District Court Tuesday following his arrest on a number of charges.

Dunn flagged down Officer Tyler Hersom on South Main Street in South Deerfield to ask for help after his vehicle ran out of gas, according to Hersom’s police report.

Hersom retrieved a gas can from the police station nearby, and Dunn was able to buy enough gas to get the car started after asking someone in Cumberland Farms for money because he did not have enough, according to the report.

But while speaking with Dunn, Hersom discovered the man had a suspended license and wouldn’t let him drive off. Dunn said he was unable to call anyone for a ride because his phone was dead, and Hersom ordered a tow for the car.

Hersom then asked Dunn if he had anything of value or any weapons in the car, to which Dunn responded he had a BB gun in his jacket pocket. He was placed in handcuffs after attempting to reach for the gun, according to the report, and he also told police he had a knife in his pants pocket.

When Hersom removed the knife, a note with the words, “All money from registers and safe, now + quickley” (sic) fell out of Dunn’s pocket.

Hersom also noticed that Dunn’s hat had two holes cut out in the area where his eyes would be if he pulled the hat over his face.

Dunn was placed under arrest on charges of driving with a suspended license, misleading a police investigation and possession of burglary tools. After being interviewed by police, he admitted he was planning to rob the Circle K convenience store on Routes 5 and 10 or the nearby Whately truck stop diner, according to Hersom’s report.

Deerfield Police wrote in a Facebook post that Dunn was contemplating the robbery to support a heroin habit.

He was released on conditions and is due back in court March 6 for a pretrial conference.