Charges laid in traumatic 2017 Vernon robbery where suspect crashed through ceiling | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Charges laid in traumatic 2017 Vernon robbery where suspect crashed through ceiling

Video footage of a suspect robbing the Vernon Cash Stop Loans store on April 24, 2017.
Image Credit: Contributed


VERNON - It was a morning just like any other when a Cash Stop Loans employee walked into work — until a masked man dropped out of the ceiling and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at her.

That was nearly a year ago, but charges were only laid this month. Andrew Robert Pigott, born in 1980, was charged on March 8 with robbery, disguising face, and using an imitation firearm. Pigott also has charges before the courts for a Feb. 13, 2017 robbery and a March 30, 2017 break and enter.

According to Cash Stop Loans owner Sarah Craddock, the lone employee — who is still too traumatized to talk about what happened — walked into the 27 Street store around 8:30 a.m. on April 24, 2017, disabled the alarms and unlocked the safe.

“He had climbed the roof overnight and broken in through the air conditioning vent and basically sat in the ceiling until my employee came in, and he came crashing down through the roof with a gun. It was a Mission Impossible type robbery,” Craddock says. “My employee ended up ripping his mask off so they have that for evidence and DNA.”

Video footage captured the suspect crashing through the ceiling.
Video footage captured the suspect crashing through the ceiling.
Image Credit: Contributed

The man made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on a bicycle. Craddock says they eagerly awaited charges for almost a year and hopes the perpetrator is held responsible. 

“It affected everybody that works at Cash Stop Loans, we’re like a family,” Craddock says. “There are so many robberies happening in Vernon. Every time you see something on the news, boy does it make you mad, because you think of each one of the employees and how it will affect their life. We lost a great employee over this. She hasn’t returned to work.”

Last year, there were 41 robberies reported to the Vernon RCMP, up from 33 in 2016. That’s not counting any robberies in outlying communities served by the detachment, such as Coldstream, Vernon rural, Falkland, Lumby and the Okanagan Indian Band. So far in 2018, there have been at least 11 robberies reported to the media, including one employee who was struck with a crowbar and another who was bound and threatened by a man with a knife. Police statistics on the first three months of 2018 won’t be publicly provided until later this spring.

Craddock says while robberies may only last minutes, and not leave anyone physically injured, they are extremely traumatic for those involved. 

“I want something that’s a deterrent for other people committing robberies in the community. I want it out there that you will be punished, it’s not just a slap on the wrist,” she says.

Pigott next appears in court for a bail hearing on March 29. None of the charges have been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2018

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