MALDEN (CBS) – Police are investigating a case they call “acting gone bad” after a suspect faked a heart attack to serve as a distraction.
The suspects, 31-year-old Vyacheslav Phinney and 30-year-old Jessie Maharg, entered a CVS on Broadway together Sunday. Police say Maharg started walking around pretending he was having some sort of heart attack, but the clerk didn’t buy it.
“He wasn’t going to get an Academy Award so when that didn’t happen, the clerk didn’t leave they created a second diversion,” said Malden Police Captain Marc Gatcomb.
That’s when police say Phinney pretended to buy some drinks. When the clerk opened the cash register he jumped the counter and grabbed the cash. As the two were about to leave a concerned citizen tried to stop him.
“The money went to the ground and the second suspect ran into the ground and began to pick up the money inside the vestibule, the fight continued inside the business,” Gatcomb said.
The fight did not last long and eventually the two suspects got away with the cash.
“It was very heroic but I would put this disclaimer out there you really shouldn’t intervene you don’t know if they have weapons,” Gatcomb said.
Police released the surveillance video of the robbery which led them to an apartment complex in Malden where Phinney was arrested Monday afternoon. Police say they’ve had other encounters with him in the past week as well. He’s now charged with unarmed robbery and assault.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Maharg as well out of Lawrence.
“We would like to make sure they’re both held accountable for their actions, and also to make sure his ‘heart problems’ have been taken care of by a medical professional,” police wrote on Facebook as they searched for the suspects.