UPDATE: Bystanders chase down suspect in Penticton bank robbery | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Bystanders chase down suspect in Penticton bank robbery

Al Messier of Summerland says he ran down a would-be thief who snatched money from a woman who was withdrawing cash at a Penticton bank, Tuesday, June 20, 2017.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK
June 21, 2017 - 1:49 PM

PENTICTON - A Summerland man chased down the suspect who grabbed a handful of cash a woman had just withdrawn from a downtown Penticton bank yesterday.

Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth says a woman was withdrawing money from the TD Canada Trust Bank at 2210 Main St. yesterday around 4 p.m. when a man suddenly grabbed her cash and ran out of the bank.

Al Messier of Summerland says in a Facebook post he witnessed the offence and chased the suspect down the street.

“I flew after him trying to scare him by yelling, ‘I am going to hurt you if I catch you, so just stop,'" Messier says in the post, adding the man finally stopped running and handed over the cash to Messier, who told the suspect to do the right thing and turn himself in.

Messier says the man continued to walk away, but a bank employeea and another man following the chase called police, who later arrested the man.

Jason Raggett was also at the bank when the incident occurred. He was in his truck outside the bank, and when he saw what was happening, he took off after the suspect.

“The bank manager was right behind me. When Al got the money back, he went and handed it back to the lady, and we kept going and ended up catching him near the Co-op gas station,” Raggett says.

The suspect was co-operative at first, Raggett says, yelling at the two not to call the police, when he suddenly decided to run. 

Two more bystanders had joined the scene when the man suddenly began to fight. Raggett says he had his nose broken in the altercation.

“We put him to the ground and waited maybe 25 minutes for the RCMP to show up. I just hope the guy does the time for the crime,” he says, adding society needs to crack down on this type of activity and not “sugar coat” it.

Wrigglesworth says the victim was unwilling to make a complaint to police and was just happy to have her money back.

“There were many witnesses to this theft as well as video surveillance available," Wrigglesworth says in an email. "The offender is well known to police and it would have been good for the community if he was off the streets."

"However, even with the overwhelming evidence, if we do not have a victim willing to play her part in keeping society safe, then there is little that the police can do.”

"Without a witness willing to say, 'that was my money, he had no right to it, I don't know him,' etc., then all other witnesses only corroborate what happened," Wrigglesworth says.

He says police hope to convince the victim to change her mind.

Messier says he got an appreciative hug from the lady whose money was taken, calling it a great feeling to have been able to be there to help.

“He must have been scared seeing this ugly, dirty mug coming at him, lol, he felt the ground shaking as I was running him down. My ankles are killing me now, though,” Messier wrote.

- This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. June 21 and again at 5 p.m. to include information from a second bystander who assisted in the detention of the suspect, and to add further details from the police.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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