March 31, 2015 - 2:12 PM
KELOWNA – A man initially charged with robbing one West Kelowna drug store a year ago has now been charged with six other robberies that took place in the months prior.
Brandon Oswald, 23, was arrested within moments of a robbery at Shoppers Drug Mart on Dobbin Rd just before 10 p.m. March 10, 2014. 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.
He began his preliminary hearing in Kelowna provincial court today, charged with seven robberies, many of them armed. A court order bans publication of any information or evidence from the hearing. A judge will determine if there's enough evidence to commit to trial.
InfoNews.ca spoke with one of the employees days after the Shoppers Drug Mart robbery in West Kelowna took place. Speaking on a condition of anonymity, she said the man was calm, spoke softly and appeared relaxed and confident. The witness said five people were working at the time and RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark said at least one customer was inside as well.
“One of (the employees) was hidden,” the witness said. “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 as many as ten members of the RCMP. Guns drawn, they ordered him to the ground where he was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser, according to the witness.
Clark says RCMP had determined the identity of a possible suspect and placed him under surveillance.
“We didn’t know for sure, we just suspected, and unfortunately we were unable to intervene prior to the robbery taking place,” he said. “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.”
Clark said at the time he believed Oswald may have been involved in a series of robberies that began in Feb. 2014.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015