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Staff enter danger zone to stop thieves

Staff at two businesses risked their lives to thwart would be robbers on Friday.

The first attempted robbery occurred just before 5:00 p.m. on the corner of 29th Street and 43rd Ave at The Pizza Factory. Vernon RCMP responded to a report of a fight happening on the corner, but upon arrival they discovered that an unidentified male had entered the shop and a male suspect had handed the cashier a note stating, “this is a robbery”.

The teller alerted the store owner who had been in the back of the shop at the time and the owner then armed himself with a large pizza knife and chased the man onto the street.

“We do not encourage store owners to confront these individuals for sure, especially with more and more these individuals are carrying weapons,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

“Think of yourself and safety.”

The suspect fled west on 43rd by bicycle. The suspect is described as approximately 5’2”, 160lbs, mid-twenties and is believed to be either First Nations or Hispanic, with short hair and a pockmarked face. No weapon was used.

The second robbery occurred at Quality Greens located at #100-4800 Anderson Way, just after 7 p.m. Police spoke to staff who had been working the cash register. They reported a lone male suspect had entered the store, but the clerk advised the man they were closed and asked if he needed something quick. The suspect placed a plastic bag on the counter, demanded cash and opened his jacket and showed what appeared to be the handle of a gun.

The clerk had two trays from the cash register at the time and handed them to the suspect.

Another employee saw the male racing from the store and chased him into the parking lot where the employee grabbed the suspect and caused him to drop the tills. The employee was then struck on the side of the head, receiving a minor injury. The male suspect fled northbound on foot.

The suspect was described as a Caucasian male, mid-twenties, clean-shaven, wearing a red/orange jacket with black sleeves and black on the shoulders, light blue jeans and black toque and gloves.

Vernon RCMP is urging anyone with information involving these robberies to contact them or Crime Stoppers.

“It’s very, very unusual (to have this number of robberies in one night),” says Molendyk.

“You know we’re getting into that Christmas season and I hate to say this but a couple things we want to remind the public of we’re starting into that Christmas season and there are individuals who are desperate out there but there are folks out there doing their Christmas shopping, leaving stuff in their vehicles. We’re getting a large number of theft from vehicles, theft of vehicles. So again, when you’re shopping don’t fill your vehicle up with gifts and leave them there for would-be thieves.”

There were also two robberies in the North Okanagan Friday night.

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