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Suspect Denies Claremont Robbery

Man Says He Wasn’t in N.H. When E-Z Mart Was Robbed

Claremont — A 29-year-old Claremont man charged with last week’s armed robbery of a convenience store denied committing the crime during a bail discussion at his arraignment Wednesday.

Travis Truell, who appeared before Claremont Fifth Circuit Court Judge Jack Yazinski via video from the House of Corrections in Unity, spoke after police prosecutor Tony Sheperd asked Yazinski to set bail at $25,000 cash only.

Shepherd said the bail request was based on the suspect’s criminal record and that police officers and several employees at the House of Corrections, where Truell had previously been incarcerated, identified him in a surveillance camera photograph taken during the robbery of the E-Z Mart on Maple Avenue Jan. 16. He also said that Truell had violated parole for previous convictions and tested positive for illicit drugs.

Yazinski then asked Truell if he wanted to respond to the bail amount.

“I don’t think I should have bail based on what someone thinks was my picture,” Truell said. “I wasn’t even in the state of New Hampshire when the store got robbed.”

Yazinski then set bail at $10,000 cash-only with several conditions, including that Truell not leave the state. No plea was entered for Truell, who was not represented by an attorney, and a probable cause hearing is scheduled for Jan. 30.

Truell was arrested Tuesday on two outstanding warrants and later charged with the robbery.

Though no weapon was brandished, Truell is charged with armed robbery because, according to court documents, “he placed his right hand in his pocket and pointed his hand and pocket contents in a manner that reasonably appeared to be armed with a deadly weapon while directing her (the cashier) to ‘open the register right now.’ ”

The cashier was not injured, and the suspect escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

An affidavit from Claremont Police Department Sgt. Stanley Andrewski gives the following account of the Jan. 16 incident:

Around 8:40 p.m., a call came of a reported robbery at the E-Z Mart store and when police arrived they were able to locate an escape route of the suspect from a witness, the affidavit said.

A State Police K-9 unit tracked the suspect’s footprints through woods and across railroad tracks to Wheelock Road, which is at the end of Park Avenue. At that location, the suspect is believed to have fled in a vehicle.

Police also located footprints from a home on Curtis Street, off Maple Avenue, to the store, a distance of less than a mile, the affidavit said. The parents of Truell’s ex-girlfriend live at the Curtis Street address. Police also said Truell’s motor vehicle record shows the address on Curtis Street, and it is the last known address police have for him.

In court, Truell said he did not have a current address and supplied his father’s address on River Road in Claremont when asked by Yazinski where he was living.

The affidavit states that the suspect in the store video was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, scarf and ski goggles but that at one point, he “exposes most of his face to the camera system which led officers to form the opinion that the suspect in this case was Travis Truell.”

Truell’s ex-girlfriend, who had a child with him, told police it was his voice saying “open up the register now” and “hurry up,” after listening to the audio recording of the surveillance camera, police said.

She also identified him from the video and said the tan jacket the suspect was wearing belonged to Truell’s father.

Police said the scarf the robber wore was one he had given her but she “had not been in possession of it for some time and that it was available to Truell.”

In addition to Claremont police officers and House of Corrections employees, a state prison correctional officer also saw the surveillance video and said the suspect was Truell.

Truell was convicted of conspiracy and falsifying evidence in 2008 and served time in state prison, and he was guilty of theft in 2012 and received a 12-month sentence at the House of Corrections.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.