Saco police on Friday released a sketch of the man who tried to rob Holly’s Gas on Portland Road, as well as a video clip showing the robber and the clerk’s dog attacking him.

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon and it wasn’t until police reviewed the videotape that they saw Justin Ireland’s dog, Thor, a rugged pit bull-boxer mix, had nipped at the robber’s hand and then bit him on each side of the face.

Police said they are releasing the sketch and the video to generate information that might help identify the suspect. An earlier news release has already paid off.

“We had a couple other people come forward who had seen the vehicle parked on the side of the road,” said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Holland. One person who had seen the truck before the incident worked for more than an hour with the sketch artist, he said.

Ireland, 21, was working at Holly’s Gas on Route 1 in Saco when a man walked up to the door of the office at 3:25 p.m. Tuesday. A mask-like covering partially obscured the man’s face. Ireland figured he was just bundled up against the cold.

The man quickly pulled out a gun, pushed a plastic shopping bag at Ireland and then shoved him. That might have been about when Ireland accused the man of bringing a BB gun to an armed robbery.


Ireland at first was holding an exuberant Thor back by his harness, but released him after he was shoved.

At that point, Thor, who had been wagging his tail enthusiastically at having a visitor, apparently discerned the robber was a threat and lunged for him. The man ran and Ireland, after making sure Thor was safe inside the office, ran after him. He couldn’t catch the man before he climbed into a light blue, newer model Chevrolet Silverado extended-cab pickup truck, which had been parked around the corner from the station on Flag Pond Road, and drove away.

For his part, Thor immediately resumed wagging his tail after the brief encounter. He is part boxer, after all.

Police ask that anyone with information call 282-8216.

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