Man possibly connected to numerous Okanagan robberies sought by police - InfoNews

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Man possibly connected to numerous Okanagan robberies sought by police

Video surveillance footage from Toro's Cold Beer and Wine story on Kalamalka Lake Road in Vernon shows an armed robbery suspect entering the store, Friday, Nov. 25, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/RCMP
November 27, 2017 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - Police are on the lookout for a man who may be connected to a number of robberies in the Okanagan.

The man, who is only being called a “person of interest” at this point, appears to match a number of descriptions from armed robberies throughout the Okanagan since September, police say.

“This is a person that you see popping up as a person of interest in terms of physical descriptors and clothing,” Const. Kelly Brett of the Vernon RCMP says.

The man appears to match descriptions from a pair of hotel robberies Sept. 29 and Oct. 2, as well as a robbery at M&M Food Market in Kelowna Oct. 15.

The latest incident was Friday night, Nov. 24, when a man with a knife demanded cash from Toro’s Cold Beer and Wine Store.

Suspect caught on video robbing a Vernon hotel earlier this year.
Suspect caught on video robbing a Vernon hotel earlier this year.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

In all cases, the male suspect brandished a knife and demanded cash. While the physical descriptions and modus operandi appear consistent in all the robberies, Const. Brett says it isn’t known if they are in fact directly linked. She says investigators are looking into other incidents up and down the valley, from Penticton to the North Okanagan, but can't say exactly how many files may be related.

She says Vernon’s Downtown Enforcement Unit is gathering intel and working to identify the man. Anyone who has seen him, or knows who he is, is asked to contact the police.

“Obviously it’s a concern if he’s producing a weapon at a robbery. Luckily there were no injuries and the employee was very smart in fleeing the premises at the time,” Brett says, speaking specifically about the Toro's robbery. 

She says shopkeepers should be vigilant and keep an eye on who is coming and going from their stores, but points out you can’t really deter a robbery unless you lock your door — something police are not asking businesses to do (until they lock up for the night).

“We don’t want our merchants to think that they can’t open their doors to the public and that they’re not safe at night, that’s certainly not the message we want to communicate,” Brett says.

She says robberies tend to happen when employees are working alone, or when a second worker is at the back conducting other duties.

“They (criminals) learn their schedule,” she says.

She says having two employees on hand is always beneficial.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leaving a tip online at www.nokscrimestoppers.com.

Kelowna RCMP were looking for this man who allegedly stole cash and a purse from the M & M Food Market on Harvey Avenue on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
Kelowna RCMP were looking for this man who allegedly stole cash and a purse from the M & M Food Market on Harvey Avenue on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kelowna RCMP

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 © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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