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Fifth Vernon robbery adds to police concerns

A fifth attempted robbery in Vernon since Dec. 1 has police calling for employers to add staff to shifts.

And police also feel the robberies are being committed by more than one person.

A lone man walked into Vern’s Pizza in the 3600 block of 32nd Street Friday night shortly after 9:30 p.m., produced what appeared to be a handgun and demanded the female employee open the till.

“She refused and told him, in no uncertain terms, where to go and that she was going to call the cops,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk. “The clerk realized the gun was fake.”

The suspect reached for the clerk but she pulled away. He knocked over a table and a monitor near the till as he was leaving the building.

The man was seen jumping a fence on the north side of the business, and spotted driving off in an older red Ford truck with a long box. The vehicle had no tail gate, and no licence plate number was recorded.

The suspect is described as possibly native wearing a dark jacket, baggy jeans, dark toque and a dark fur-lined hood. He is about five-foot-11, slim build, approximately 20-to-25-years-old, thin face and was wearing skater-type running shoes.

Police are concerned about the increasing number of local robberies.

“We’re asking employers to remain extra vigilant and recommend having at least two employees working a shift for safety reasons,” said Molendyk.

Having an employee challenge a would-be robber is not something police recommend, but Molendyk said in this particular case, the clerk felt comfortable enough to do so, as she felt certain the weapon was plastic or imitation.

No weapon was recovered by police.

Police have no suspect for this robbery attempt, or ones attempted earlier this month at the Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge Cold Beer and Wine Story, Corner Grocery, Vernon Husky and on a delivery driver, and in only one of the incidents did the suspect receive any cash.

“Talking with investigators, we may have more than one or two people active here,” said Molendyk when asked if the robberies were being committed by the same individual.

“There are similarities, and we have to look at them, but there are some indications that we’re probably dealing with more than one individual on these robberies.”

Anybody with any information on any of the robberies is asked to call the Vernon detachment at 250-545-7171, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Tips can also be left on the local Crime Stoppers’ website, www.nokscrimestoppers.com.

 

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