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The Belleville Intelligencer

Blessington robbery unsettling: owner

November 11th, 2010

By SHERRY TOMPKINS, SPECIAL TO THE INTELLIGENCER

Eighteen seconds from entry to exit.

That's how long it took two men, wearing hoodies and bandanas, to rob the Blessington General Store of a cash register and its owners of peace of mind and security.

According to store owner, Bridget Sartoretto, the effects of last week's robbery are profound.

"These people are affecting how people have to live their everyday lives," Sartoretto said. "Everybody has to look over their shoulder now. It never used to be like that in the country in a small community, but it's not like that anymore. I would just like people to know that this is what is going on."

The Blessington General Store is located at a remote crossroads in rural Tyendinaga Township.

The two men entered the store shortly after 7 p.m. and told the clerk to back away from the till. They then reached across the counter, grabbed the cash register and left 18 seconds later with an undisclosed amount of cash.

No one was hurt, said Sartoretto. Two employees, the owners' son, and one customer were in the store at the time of the robbery.

Once the pair left, one of the employees locked the door, hit the alarm panic button and called 911. Napanee OPP responded in less than 15 minutes.

Multiple police units responded, including the identification team, the K9 unit and the SWAT team. The police did obtain videotape from the store's security cameras, but the perpetrators were well disguised. The store was closed Saturday, but reopened on Sunday.

Owner Bridget Sartoretto says it's troubling what an incident like this does to people and a community.