Vernon RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying this suspect

Vernon RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying this suspect

Vernon RCMP probe potential robbery links

A lone male made off with cash after a Sunday night robbery at a Vernon gas station, the fifth robbery in the city since Dec. 1.

Vernon RCMP have another robbery on their hands.

The Vernon Husky gas station in the 4500 block of 27th Street was robbed just after 8 p.m. Sunday.

“The female clerk told our officers that a man, approximately five-foot-five, slim build, in his 40s, wearing  a ski mask and a hoodie, entered and said, ‘this is a robbery,’” stated Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk Monday morning.

Witnesses told officers the man headed west on 45th Avenue on a bike, then turned south.

He made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The clerk was not injured.

It is the fifth robbery in Vernon since Thursday night and police are looking at the possibility that the same individual committed at least four of them.

In Sunday’s robbery, and one Thursday at the Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge Cold Beer and Wine Store, the suspect was wearing a balaclava.

In robberies Friday, at Corner Grocery and at a delivery truck, the suspect was wearing a skull-like mask.

“There are some similarities, although the height is off on this one,” said Molendyk of the Husky suspect. The individual in the other robberies was described as being around five-foot-eight or five-foot-nine.

On Friday, at 9 p.m., a male suspect wearing a skull-face balaclava entered Corner Grocery, in the 5400 block of Okanagan Landing Road, jumped the counter and grabbed the male clerk while brandishing a knife.

The suspect did not get any money as the suspect was scared off by a second employee who came to assist. The suspect was observed leaving the scene in an SUV.

Later Friday, at around 11:15 p.m., a second robbery attempt occurred in the 2700 block of 39th Avenue where a delivery driver was making a delivery at a location.

When he arrived and got out of his vehicle to make the delivery, he was approached by a masked man who produced a knife and demanded the liquor.

“A struggle over the liquor took place,” said Molendyk. “Luckily, the driver had a passenger with him who got out of the vehicle to assist.”

The masked man threatened the pair with the knife, then ran away.

Police released a video surveillance photo of the Corner Grocery suspect. The delivery truck suspect was described as thin build, wearing a black zip-up hoodie, black mask with a white print, like a skull face and black pants.

The theft at the Husky station was the only time the suspect was successful in obtaining money.

No weapon was produced in that theft, or the one at the beer store.

Police do have a person of interest from a purse snatching at the Lake City Casino Thursday night, and have sent a report to Crown counsel, seeking a warrant for the individual’s arrest.

RCMP are asking businesses open in the evening to be aware of anybody suspicious, and perhaps have at least two employees working for safety reasons.

Anybody with any information on any of the robberies is asked to call the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leave a tip on the local Crime Stoppers’ website, www.nokscrimestoppers.com.