Four recent robberies are likely connected, according to RCMP Sgt. Craig Massey.
A man attempted a robbery from the Service BC office on Ironwood Street at 4:05 p.m. on Tues. Oct. 11 while on Friday a lone male robbed the Scotia Bank on Alder Street at 2:43 p.m., and Discovery Chiropractic on Fir Street at 3:50 p.m. Then, witnesses reported that a lone male robbed the Peoples Drug Mart in Willow Point at 4:38 p.m. on Saturday.
In all four robberies the man was described as Caucasian, between six foot and six foot four inches tall, and lanky to medium build. Massey said he suspects it is the same man.
“I firmly believe this is the same individual, given the upstart of this specific crime trend and now the frequency of it,” said Massey. “These offences… based on (modus operandi) and physical description, in all likelihood, are the same offender.”
During the Service BC robbery last week the suspect entered the premises, jumped over the counter, and was attempting to grab cash when more employees came out. He fled out the door and left in a red Mazda pick-up truck.
Shortly after, police found a stolen red Mazda pick-up truck at the end of 8th Avenue. It had been stolen in Nanaimo the day before. His face was covered during the robbery and he was wearing gloves.
In the Scotia Bank robbery the suspect was wearing grey coveralls and a dark hat. When he entered the bank, he ordered everyone to the ground. There was no response and he jumped over a teller wicket, took an undisclosed amount of money, and fled the bank.
However, a dye pack in the stolen money detonated and he dropped it outside. The suspect then jumped into a black 1990 Dodge truck and fled from the rear lot of the bank.
He rear ended a 2006 Honda Element that was travelling north on Alder Street, removing the passenger side rear quarter panel from the Honda.
The culprit abandoned the truck at the corner of 9th Avenue and Thulin Street, running east over the embankment towards KFC.
About an hour later, a man entered Discovery Chiropractic on Fir Street with his face covered. He approached the staff and demanded money, receiving an undisclosed amount which he stuffed in his pocket.
Witnesses say he was wearing a navy nylon jacket, dark grey cargo pants, white cotton gloves and sunglasses.
Massey said the crimes are “desperation at work,” and believes the robberies could have some sort of “addiction component.”
During Saturday’s Peoples Drug Mart robbery a man walked up to a clerk and demanded money. The suspect took an undisclosed sum from the tills and walked out of the store.
After exiting, he walked casually away from the premises, cutting across the parking lot and disappearing south on Highway 19A. Police believe he walked through residential yards. Witnesses said he was dressed in a beige jacket, beige pants, dark foot wear, white gloves, and a wide brimmed fishing hat, according to Massey.
Follow up interviews revealed that about five minutes after the robbery a man was seen exiting a 1993 blue Dodge pick-up at the corner of Eardley and James Roads.Police discovered the clothing used in the drug store robbery left in the truck. The male exiting the vehicle is described as a tall slender Caucasian male approximately six foot one inch tall, and wearing an olive or khaki green long sleeve cotton shirt, with no buttons or collar. His hair is described as short and dark, with possible salt and pepper colouring. And it’s described as a grown out buzz cut.He had stubble on his face and was wearing basic black rimmed glasses. While Massey said no weapons have been used yet, he is concerned that could change.
“That can change in any given offence and we’re concerned that degree of violence will escalate,” said Massey. Both Dodge trucks stolen from the Spit Road area have been recovered, said Massey. RCMP are looking for video footage of the blue dodge truck used in the People’s robbery Saturday afternoon.