Raiders talk way in after closing time
THREE female staff were handcuffed during an armed robbery at a Starbucks coffee shop on Monday evening.
Police said the women – the only staff on the premises at the Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park site – had been left “extremely distressed” by the incident although they were not physically harmed.
The two suspects, who wore woolly hats pulled down over their faces, threatened them with what is believed to be a handgun in the raid, which took place at 7.45pm.
The assailants made off with “a quantity of cash” through a rear exit. As a matter of routine, police do not release the amount of money stolen, although other workers in the area questioned why attackers would carry out a raid on a coffee shop, traditionally not a business regarded to hold a lot of cash instore.
One nearby worker said the Starbucks had closed at the time of the raid, but the attackers talked their way in by convincing the staff they had left something behind.
“When I left the shop I noticed the Starbucks lights were off and the police were there,” he said. “I realised there was something going on. I was shocked but I thought about the girls. I wasn’t worried about the money – everybody’s got insurance – but that kind of thing would traumatise you for life.”
The worker, a manager of a nearby eatery, said he worried about his own staff and had warned them not to open the door to anyone after they had closed.
A member of staff in another shop in Haverstock Hill said he had heard of robbers targetting Starbucks in other areas and described it as a common occurrence.
No arrests have been made. Police did speak to nearby workers and sealed off the area for most of Monday night, refusing to let some take their cars home that night.
The branch reopened late on Tuesday afternoon.
Other workers in the area speculated that a lack of CCTV could hamper police enquiries although they did ask for images from neighbouring premises.
Detectives have not as yet appealed for witnesses and it is unclear whether they have identified any suspects. They described the men as in their mid 20s to early 30s, one was around 6ft and the other slightly shorter.
Tim McCoy, Starbucks UK and Ireland head of communications, said: “Fortunately, none of our customers were affected, however it was deeply upsetting for the partners [employees] concerned. We have offered counselling to all of the affected partners in our Haverstock Hill store and we will continue to ensure they receive our full support.”
Police confirmed they are investigating two alleged raids in Haverstock Hill in December.