They tell of robbery at Roxbury store

By Martine Powers
Globe Correspondent / July 26, 2011

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As Jorge Martinez stocked a refrigerator yesterday with milk in the back of Marcella Market in Roxbury, he heard the ding of someone opening the front door, Martinez recalled later. A customer, he thought.

Instead, the 41-year-old said, he felt a gun press the back of his head, then a voice telling him, “Get down.’’

He turned, and saw a man with a handkerchief tied over his face, a black automatic rifle in his hands. Three men stood behind the gunman.

At about 9:11 a.m. yesterday, those four men held up the market on Marcella Street and made off with about $200 in cash and packs of cigarillos, along with Martinez’s wallet and cellphone, authorities said. Officer Eddy Chrispin, a Boston police spokesman, said two men fled on foot and two left the scene in a car. Martinez said the car was a white Nissan.

Martinez and his father-in-law, 64-year-old Alejandro Senises, who was also in the store at the time, were not injured during the robbery. They said they did not recognize the robbers and were not able to get a good look at their appearance or what they were wearing. They heard the robbers yell “hurry up’’ in Spanish.

“They threw me onto the floor,’’ Senises said in Spanish. “I didn’t see who it was.

Martinez said he planned to turn over surveillance tape from the robbery to Boston police.

The experience was alarming, Martinez said, but he had no qualms about reopening the store yesterday afternoon after police finished investigating the scene.

“I’m not going to be scared,’’ said Martinez, shrugging his shoulders with his hands jammed into his pockets. “It’s just something that happens when you are working in a store.’’

But Martinez’s wife, Delia Senice, 34, was not so stoic. She bought the market four months ago, she said, and believes that the robbery was the result of lax police surveillance.

There is more tolerance for crime in Roxbury and Dorchester than in other parts of the city, she said.

“There needs to be more vigilance here from police,’’ she said, in Spanish. “There’s a park next door. There are families here.’’

Chrispin countered that the Boston Police Department has recently increased the number of officers stationed in areas experiencing high numbers of crimes, including neighborhoods in Roxbury and Dorchester.

“We have more officers on the street now than we’ve had in a long time,’’ Chrispin said. “To say that this robbery was a result of lax policing, I think, is wrong.’’

Martine Powers can be reached at