Four robbery attempts in six hours kept Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP occupied Friday night.
The attempts happened in Vernon, Armstrong and Enderby in a six-hour span between 5 and 11 p.m.
“It was a horrible night for our officers,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.
The first call was a report of an attempted robbery just before 5 p.m. at The Pizza Factory located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 29th Street beside MacDonald Park in Vernon.
An unidentified man entered and passed a note to the clerk, saying this was a robbery. The clerk alerted the store owner in the back of the shop and he came out to confront the suspect with a large pizza knife.
“The owner chased the suspect out of the store onto the street,” said Molendyk. “The suspect jumped on a bike and fled westbound on 43rd Avenue.”
The suspect did not get any cash. He is described as 5-foot-2, 160-pounds, in his mid-20s, believed to be either First Nations or Hispanic with short hair and pock-marked face.
Around the same time in Enderby, at 5:05 p.m., police responded to a report of two men attempting to rob Enderby Jewellers in the 600 block of Cliff Avenue.
The two men came in the store at separate times. The first was an older man, the second was described as younger, and it was he who produced a gun and demanded jewelry, including diamonds.
“The clerk produced a tray of jewelry but when the suspect realized they weren’t diamonds, he and the other man left the store,” said Molendyk.
A police service dog was called and they tracked a scent to a nearby alley, where the scent disappeared. Police believe the suspects left in a vehicle.
They are described as follows: the first suspect is an older man, 5-foot-10, slim build, late 40s, perhaps sporting a reddish-toned goatee, white dress shirt, black brimmed hat similar to a cowboy hat but not as big or wide, black pants, no jacket.
The second suspect is 6-foot, 180-lbs, tanned-looking skin, wearing a black hoody with CANADA written across the front in white and red lettering, and the hood was pulled up over his head.
At 7 p.m. in Vernon, police responded to a report of a robbery at Quality Greens, in the 4800 block of Anderson Way, where a man entered the store at closing time, produced a bag on the counter and told the clerk to give him the cash.
“He also opened his jacket and showed the clerk what appeared to be the handle of a gun,” said Molendyk.
As the suspect fled, an employee of the store chased after the suspect, caught him but was hit on the head by the suspect, who fled on foot northbound on Anderson Way. The employee suffered a minor injury.
The suspect in this case is described as a Caucasian man, mid-20s, clean-shaven, wearing a red or orange jacket with black sleeves and black on the shoulders, lighter blue jeans, black toque and gloves.
And, shortly after 11 p.m., police in Armstrong responded to a report of a robbery at the Anchor Inn Liquor Store in the 2500 block of Pleasant Valley Boulevard.
The clerk there said two men stole cash and the clerk’s vehicle. They also bound the clerk’s hands and made him lie on the floor.
One of the suspects was wearing a full red snowsuit with toque and gloves. The other was wearing a blue jacket, gloves and a ball cap.
“We are looking to see if the two robberies in Armstrong and Enderby may be connected, we’re just not 100 per cent sure,” said Molendyk. “Police do not believe there’s any connection between the two attempts in Vernon.”
Anybody with any information on any of the robberies is asked to call the Vernon RCMP detachment at 250-545-7171, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.