The Ames police still had no leads late this morning concerning the identity or whereabouts of two men who Wednesday night held up the Sucher grocery, 2416 Knapp, and made off with over $200. The robbery occurred about 8:40 p.m. while Clerk Tom Erwood, 524 Pammel court, was alone in the store. Two men entered the grocery, owned by Bob Sucher, forced Erwood at gun point to empty the contents of the cash register into a paper sack and then fled.
During the hold-up, another Iowa State college student, Bill Nelson, De Kalb, Ill, entered the store and was backed up against the wall by the pair as they waited to collected the day's receipts, which included $75 in checks and the rest in cash. Both Erwood and Nelson were then made to lie down in the back of the store while the bandits left the store. Erwood called the police a few minutes later.
The two men entered, Erwood said, while he was at the back of the store, and one of them called, "Hey, buddy, have you got a package of gum?" "I started up front toward the register," Erwood said, "and I noticed one of the men held his right arm inside his coat front. I think I knew then it was a hold-up."
The bandit pulled the gun on the student as he edged behind the counter, and told him to "put everything in a sack." Nelson walked in shortly afterwards and was told to stand against the wall by the counter. "OKAY"
"I had everything out of the cash drawer except the pennies and three nickels," said Erwood, "when they said, "Okay." The 24 year-old clerk lay on his back when he and Nelson were told to go to the rear of the store. "I got another good look at them then," he said.
He told police both men appeared to be between 30 and 35 years old. The one who asked for the gum was about five feet eight or nine, had straight brown hair and wore a light brown sport coat and a light-colored T-shirt. The gunman Erwood judged to be over six feet tall and was slightly built. He was dressed in a dark brown suit and a light dress shirt with no tie.
Nelson, who makes a hobby of guns, described the weapon as a foreign make nine-millimeter automatic. "Bill said the gun wasn't cocked" Erwood said, "but I was too scared to notice, I guess." After the hold-up, Nelson remembered seeing a man parked in a car about 50 yards east of the grocery. He said the driver was smoking a cigarette and watching the store. "It was an old Ford, about a '39 or '40," he said. Immediately after the robbery the car was gone, but police cannot be certain the two bandits used it for their escape.
Sucher, who lives at 1527 Grand, purchased the store, formerly known as Beman's Grocery and Market, in February after coming to Ames from Stanwood. The store is normally open every evening until 10 p.m. "It's the first time anything like this has happened to me," he said. "I don't know for sure just who I cashed checks for Wednesday," said Sucher. "I wish anyone who did cash a check herre will let me know." He said insurance will cover the loss.
Erwood is an industrial economics major at the college. The former Cedar Rapids man is married and has a daughter seven months old. Nelson, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, is a freshman in veterinary medicine.
The front original portion of the structure at 2416 Knapp, at center in the photo above, housed Beaman Cleaners and then Beaman Grocery in the early 1940s. Bob Sucher's Superette became Paul's Superette in 1969. Later, it housed the Sun Shop, Sports Graphics, and the Brick Shirt House screen printing. In the 1990s, Cyclone Wrestling Products and Nichols Enterprises Wrestling Equipment operated at this location. The back of Crawford School is visible in the background. At one time, the alley between Bob's Superette and Crawford School was the location for the tracks of the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Railroad. Learn more about the DM, FD & Southern Railway.