DiCamillo's closes Pine Avenue store

Members of the Niagara Falls Police Department investigate Saturday afternoon's armed robbery at DiCamillo's on Pine Avenue.

NIAGARA FALLS — A Saturday afternoon robbery has led to the closing of a Pine Avenue institution.

The DiCamillo family announced Monday that it will shutter its store in the 1700 block of Pine Avenue for "the foreseeable future."

"We are closed and will remain closed moving forward," Matthew DiCamillo told the Gazette Monday afternoon. "We do it very reluctantly, but it's for the protection of our employees."

DiCamillo said the store has been staffed with a security guard for the past two years. A search of the Gazette archives shows a trio of hold-ups in 2019 at the Pine Avenue store as well as a robbery in April 2020. 

The Saturday robbery occurred after the security guard had completed his shift.

"The security guard is on until 1:30 p.m., which is the end of our busy time," DiCamillo sad. 

The robber entered the store around 3:30 p.m. and displayed a handgun while demanding cash from the store register. DiCamillo credited a male manager with protecting a female employee and avoiding a tragedy.

"Nobody was hurt, but that doesn't mean it wasn't pretty scary," DiCamillo said Monday afternoon. 

The entire incident was captured on the store's security cameras and the employees were able to play back the video for Falls cops who responded to investigate. An hour after the robbery, police had a 17-year-old suspect in custody.

A responding officer located the teenager at a convenience store in the 1500 block of Pine Avenue, just two blocks from the robbery scene.

Because the teen is shielded under New York's Raise the Age law, police have released no information about the robbery.

"It was really terrific work by the city police," DiCamillo said. "They caught him within an hour, but I understand he was later released."

Falls police confirmed that the teen suspect was not held in custody.

In announcing the closing on Facebook Monday afternoon, DiCamillo's owners wrote: “At this time, our first priority is the safety of our great employees. We want to thank the Niagara Falls Police Department for their brave work every day. And most of all, we want to thank all of our wonderful customers who have supported this location since 1986.”

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