Thieves strike local businesses over weekend

Bank of Montreal and Lakeview Market robbed, suspect in BMO still sought

Vernon was hit by two robberies, believed to be unrelated, over the weekend.

The Bank of Montreal, on 32nd Street, was held up by a lone male suspect Saturday, just after noon.

The suspect produced a note, which indicated he had a weapon but no weapon was produced, and demanded a large amount of cash. While police will not release what exactly that number was, they say the suspect didn’t get it.

“He wasn’t given that amount but he was given an undisclosed amount,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson.

The suspect being sought is described as 20 to 30 years old, Caucasian, six-feet tall, 160-180 lbs, thin build, short stubble and wearing a black toque, black hood, blue jeans, white Nike runners, and black sunglasses.

A second weekend robbery took place at Lakeview Market on 32nd Ave Sunday shortly before 5 p.m.

But thanks to a keen-eyed store clerk, RCMP were able to catch up with the suspect.

“We got lucky in this particular case,” said Molendyk.

The suspect, wearing a mask and carrying a box-cutter type knife, allegedly robbed the store and fled onto 15th Street where he got into a black 2000 Grand Am.

The clerk was able to get a plate number, which came back with an address out of Kelowna.

Kelowna RCMP were contacted to be on the lookout for the suspect vehicle, which was spotted approximately one hour later.

An officer from the Kelowna Integrated Road Safety unit received a notification from his automatic licence plate reader that the driver of the vehicle was possibly unlicensed.

Once catching up with the suspect, police dispatch confirmed that the plate was associated to the robbery in Vernon.

A short time later, Kelowna officers had the suspect in custody and he was identified as the car owner. Items related to the robbery were also recovered in the vehicle.

“This suspect has a substantial criminal record dating back to 2004,” said Molendyk.

A 29-year-old out of Kelowna was expected to appear in Vernon provincial court Monday.