Man arrested after wielding knife in alleged liquor robbery in Nanaimo

Incident happened Wednesday, April 4, at Occidental Hotel Liquor Store

A man was arrested last night for allegedly robbing a local liquor store while armed with a knife.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, officers responded to the Occidental Hotel Liquor Store on Selby Street on Wednesday, April 4, at about 9:30 p.m. for a report of an armed robbery that had just occurred.

Employees told officers a man entered the business, grabbed two bottles of liquor and then fled from the store. A clerk chased the suspect out onto the street where the suspect allegedly drew a knife and threatened the clerk.

Officers, with a Police Services Dog unit, were on scene within minutes and were able to track the suspect, 31-year-old Michael James Heywood, to some nearby bushes where he was arrested without incident. The knife and liquor were located and seized.

Heywood appeared before a Nanaimo provincial court judge on Thursday and was formally charged with one count of robbery and one count of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, and was released until his next court appearance April 24.

“This is another occasion in which a civilian decided to confront a suspect and in doing so put themselves unnecessarily in extreme danger,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “As it turned out, officers were on scene quickly and using the resources they have at their disposal to safely locate the suspect. The last thing we want is for someone to get injured. The best course of action is to call 911, provide a description of the suspect and where they were last seen.”