Armed robber hits Mapleton market

Man pepper sprays manager, steals money at gunpoint

Jan. 3, 2018 — The Riverside Market in Mapleton was robbed at gunpoint at approximately 8:20 p.m. on Dec. 30.

Store Manager Vedpal Kaushik was in the process of closing the store when an armed gunman entered, confronted him, and demanded, “All the money, all the money now or I will shoot you!” 

Kaushik had just finished delivering a liquor order to a neighboring establishment, Frank’s Place, and was preparing to close out the store’s till when he became aware of someone coming up to him.

The robber was wearing a bandanna and gloves and spoke with a recognizable Hispanic accent, according to Kaushik.

“I was sitting at my desk and he came into my office and pointed a gun at me and made me give him the money in the till,” he said. “I told him not to shoot; I would give him the money.”

Afterwards, the man pushed Kaushik down and told him to get on the floor.

“I looked up at him, and he sprayed pepper spray in my eyes and mouth, maybe so I could not follow him and see what kind of car he was driving,” Kaushik said.

According to Kaushik, the man’s face was hidden and he didn’t say many words — “like a professional,” he noted.

When the man ran out the door with the money, Kaushik tried to rinse the pepper spray out of his eyes so he could call the police.

“I called the County Sheriff's department and reported the robbery, and they were here in about 10 minutes,” he said.

Lane County Sheriff's office deputies, along with Oregon State Police, responded and began their initial investigation. According to police, the suspect was medium height with a heavy build, wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, dark pants and a dark-colored bandana over his face. He was also wearing gloves with bright, white fingertips and white Adidas shoes with dark blue stripes on the sides.

The police took Kaushik’s statement and proceeded to search for the robber. They were unsuccessful and, at this time, the suspect remains at large as of this morning.

Kaushik’s uncle purchased the Riverside Market in 2015 and Vedpal has been running the busy Mapleton store since that time.

The robbery has been a traumatic experience for him, who shared that he is still in shock about the incident.

“My family is from India and I have not seen my wife and kids for four years,” Kaushik said. “I started thinking of them after this happened, and I just started crying. And then I was thinking, well, at least he didn’t shoot me and maybe I will get a chance to see them again.”

Anyone with information pertaining to this crime should call the Lane County Sheriff's office at 541-682-4141.

(Lane County Sheriff's Office)

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