WEST KELOWNA – RCMP arrested a man they believe is partly responsible for several armed robberies in the Kelowna area over the last month.
Brandon Oswald, 22, was arrested within moments of a robbery at Shoppers Drug Mart on Dobbin Rd just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. As staff prepared to close for the day, a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and with his face partially covered entered the store and approached one of the workers from behind. Tensions were already high due to the recent string of robberies in the area.
The man came up behind one of the workers and he pushed the barrel of a black handgun—later determined to be a replica—against her back. He ordered her to lead him to the pharmacy where she was instructed to hand over narcotics and cash.
According to an eyewitness, the man was calm, spoke softly and appeared relaxed and confident. The witness says five people were working at the time and RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark says at least one customer was inside as well.
“One of (the employees) was hidden,” the witness told Infotel News. “He called the police but they already knew about it. They were already there.”
The man left the store with thousands of dollars worth of painkillers, methadone and cash but he didn’t get far. He was immediately surrounded by roughly ten members of the RCMP. Guns drawn, they ordered him to the ground where he was handcuffed and placed into a police cruiser.
“As a part of our investigation we had determined the identity of a possible suspect and placed him under surveillance,” Clark says. “We didn’t know for sure, we just suspected, and unfortunately we were unable to intervene prior to the robbery taking place.”
Clark says as soon as they saw the suspect going to the pharmacy, they mobilized as quickly as possible to try and make the arrest.
“We weren’t quite in the position to intervene before he entered and once he was inside the risk to the staff and anybody inside was too high.”
The arrest may be the break police have been waiting for.
“We believe this arrest is likely related to a series of robberies beginning in February,” Clark says.
RCMP suspect the man was involved in other robberies and anticipate other charges will be brought against him.
The robberies took place at two different convenience stores on two consecutive days, a liquor store and a gas station.
“In this particular robbery series, it is believed that one person acted alone,” says Clark, who points out that it is sometimes necessary to keep information from the public when that information could assist the suspect in evading capture.
Clark says there is still another group who are “actively committing robberies” in the greater Kelowna area. He says the investigation into those robberies is ongoing.
No staff or customers were injured, however the suspect received minor injuries during the arrest.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428.