Coffee shop employee runs down thief
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | March 16,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Kate Barcellos, right, takes a quick break from her busy day to pose with her boss Jacqueline Fleck for a photo moments after she chased down a robber from the Coffee Exchange Café in Rutland on Friday.
A quick-thinking barista has been credited with saving the day when a man allegedly grabbed a bag of cash and ran from the Coffee Exchange Café in downtown Rutland on Friday.
Staff at the coffee shop, located in the heart of the downtown, said the restaurant was filled with customers during the lunch hour when a man walked behind the counter, grabbed a bank bag of money and a purse, and quickly exited the store.
“It was the worst timing ever,” said manager Jacqueline Flack, who was serving customers when she heard a shout and saw the man walk out of the shop.
In the ensuing chaos, employee Kate Barcellos was able to weave her way through the crowd and give chase.
The man she pursued wasn’t big — standing about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a “skinny” frame, Barcellos said.
Even at that height he towered over Barcellos at 4 feet 11 inches. She said after the chase she didn’t know if the man was armed.
“I didn’t care,” she said. “I didn’t think about it, honestly. He stole something and tried to get away. That’s what I knew.”
Barcellos said when she shouted at the man to stop outside the shop he started running down the sidewalk on Merchants Row.
She ran after him, following him through the Asa Bloomer Building and into the bus terminal under the downtown transit center.
During the course of the sprint, Barcellos kept up a steady stream of shouts for help and for the man to stop.
“I ran like hell and kept him in sight and was screaming the whole time,” she said.
Her pleas were heeded at the terminal, where three men tackled the man and held him until police arrived, Barcellos said.
Police said the suspect, Nicholas Young, 22, of Rutland struggled to escape and bit two of the men who held him down.
Young was taken to the Rutland jail to await arraignment Monday on a felony charge of grand larceny and two misdemeanor counts of simple assault. One of the men Young allegedly bit was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center, but police said he was treated and released.
The bag of cash intended for the bank, and the purse that Young allegedly grabbed, were returned to the shop by Barcellos who was hailed as a hero by her employers and patrons.
“When no one is around I’m going to give her a big hug,” owner Don Flack — then decided not to wait.
“She’s a gutsy gal,” patron Ed Fox said.
Fox said he was drinking coffee at a table when he saw the start of the chase. What he saw impressed him.
“She’s a short little gal, but she’s feisty,” he said. “She ran right after him while everyone else was trying to figure out what just happened.”