December 03, 2012 - 12:55 PM
Vernon Mounties were kept busy responding to four robberies Friday night and now that we are in the holiday season, an RCMP spokesperson says we can expect more.
"It's very unusual," says RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk of the high total for one night. However robberies themselves aren't very unusual for this time of year.
"We're getting into that Christmas season," said Molendyk. "There are individuals who are desperate."
Molendyk warns that robberies tend to increase during the holidays, and urges shoppers to avoid leaving purchases in the car where thieves may notice steals of their own.
The first robbery occurred just before 5 p.m. at the Pizza Factory on the corner of 29th Street and 43rd Ave. A man who was later described as being either First Nations or Hispanic with short hair and a pock-marked face, had entered the shop and passed a note to the cashier which read: "This is a robbery." The teller reacted by alerting the shop's owner, who was working in the back.
The owner decided to take things into his own hands with a large pizza knife. He confronted the man, and wielding his knife, chased him out of the store and into the street. The suspect, who wasn't armed, fled the shop owner on a bicycle, heading West on 43rd Ave.
The female teller pegged the man at about 5'2", 160lbs and in his mid-20s.
Five minutes later, rural officers were dispatched to a report of a robbery with a firearm at Enderby Jewelers at 608 Cliff Ave in Enderby. A pair of men had entered the store demanding diamonds. One man was described as being a slimly-built 5'10" in his late 40's, with a reddish-toned goatee, white dress shirt, black pants, and a black brimmed hat similar in shape to a cowboy hat.
The other man was taller than the first, Caucasian with tanned skin, 6', 180lbs and wearing a black hoodie with Canada written on the front in white and red lettering. The hood was up, hiding the suspect's face.
The younger man who had a gun demanded jewelery that contained diamonds. Clerks told police that the man seemed agitated. An employee fetched a tray of jewelery and presented it to the younger man.
"When he realized it was not diamonds he left it," said Molendyk.
The two men left empty-handed and fled in a vehicle, RCMP believe.
A couple hours later, just after 7 p.m. a clerk at Quality Greens on Anderson Way, called to report a robbery. Staff reported that a male had entered the store after hours.
"The clerk advised him they were closed, but asked if he needed something quick," said Molendyk.
The man wanted money, which he made clear by placing a plastic bag on the counter and telling the clerk to fill it with cash. To further make his point, the man pulled open his jacket to reveal what appeared to be the handle of a gun. The clerk handed the trays from two registers to the man.
As the suspect was making his escape, another employee caught sight of the unusual behaviour and chased him into the parking lot. The employee grabbed onto the suspect who dropped the money. The suspect fled by foot, heading north on Anderson Way.
The money was retrieved, but the employee suffered a blow to the side of his head.
The suspect was described as a Caucasian male in his mid twenties, who was clean shaven and wearing a red/orange jacket with black sleeves and black on the shoulders, light blue jeans, a black toque and gloves.
But the RCMP weren't done for the night.
Around 11 p.m. the North Okanagan Rural RCMP members were called to the Anchor Inn Liquor Store at 2570 Pleasant Valley Blvd. in Armstrong. The clerk reported two men had just left with stolen cash and the clerk's own vehicle. The suspects are Caucasian men in their 40s. One wore a full red snow suit with a toque and gloves on. The other was dressed in a blue jacket with gloves and a ball cap.
The clerk said the suspects bound his hands and forced him to lie on the floor. After they left, the clerk waited for a while, and then pushed the silent alarm calling 911.
Anyone with information pertaining to the robberies is asked to contact the RCMP.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012