Port Coquitlam dealership staff traumatized, beaten in wild robbery

Traumatized in robbery

"The armed assailants physically battered staff and robbed them of personal belongings."

Jeff Kornatowsky of Port Coquitlam car dealership Journey Approved says employees had their wallets, phones and jewelry stolen when they were robbed by four armed men on Tuesday.

The assailants arrived in their own vehicle around 3:45 p.m. and subjected the staff to violence, which required one staff member to be sent to hospital with minor injuries, said Kornatowsky, a principal dealer for Journey Auto Group.

He said RCMP and paramedics acted quickly to deal with the "chaotic armed robbery" and subsequent trauma.

"We would like to thank the RCMP and BC Ambulance Services for their quick response and professionalism both during and after the incident. They were on scene within minutes from the first call and stayed well after to ensure everyone was OK," said Kornatowsky.

Journey Approved opened earlier this year as a subsidiary of the Journey Auto Group, specializing in automotive financing and leasing. 

"We would also like to praise our staff ... for keeping their calm during this chaotic armed robbery. We will be working with victim services to ensure our staff receive the help they may need to recover from this event."

None of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries, according to Coquitlam RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins.

The robbery began a multi-jurisdictional effort to apprehend the suspects, who fled in a stolen vehicle from the dealership.

Armed officers searched vehicles at the intersection of Lougheed Highway (7) and Shaughnessy Street before eventually chasing the suspects through Coquitlam, which included an exchange of gunfire.

According to witness video, a black sedan was seen fleeing from at least 10 police cruisers at Highway 7's intersection with Pitt River Road.

The stolen vehicle ultimately crashed on Highway 1 just before the King Edward Street overpass. One of the suspects tried to flee on foot, but was found and arrested by officers in pursuit.

A victim suffered minor injuries after their vehicle was carjacked by a second suspect, who then fled to Surrey.

The suspect was subsequently arrested by officers in that city.

"This was an extremely chaotic, fast-moving and dynamic response to an extremely brazen and violent incident that happened in the middle of the afternoon in an extremely busy area," explained Insp. Darren Carr during a news conference Wednesday.

Two suspects are still at large, and it's not known if they were injured at any point during the pursuit.

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