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Kelowna  

Suspect on 'silver platter'

UPDATED: NOV. 21

City Pawn played a large role in identifying the suspect in the Sun City Vapors robbery last week.

Steve Fosbery, owner of City Pawn, said they had already heard of the break-in that morning, before the stolen property was brought to their store.

"We contacted the owner of that store to get a description of what happened and that same day a guy came in with that stuff," Fosbery said. "He had a car full of it." 

Knowing the property was stolen, the pawn shop bought a few items from the man, so they could take down his information, and get him on camera selling the stolen property. 

"We immediately contacted the store and said, 'We've got your stuff, we've got your guy,'" Fosbery said. "It was an intentional trap for the guy."

Fosbery is the president of the Crime Stoppers board, and is working to change the classic stereotype of the "seedy pawnshop taking in stolen property indiscriminately."

"We've been spending a great deal of time and effort over the years trying to change that stigma," he said.

Fosbery said despite the work they did to provide Sun City Vapors and the RCMP with information on the suspect, police staffing issues have slowed the process.

"Literally the day it happened was (the officer in charge's) day off, and they go on a four-day stretch," Fosbery said. "She did come in here on her day off, she was calling me personally and asking for information and trying to keep the file alive from the RCMP's perspective, because they're limited in their staffing."

Trent Hnatiuk, owner of Sun City Vapors, said as of Saturday, the police have yet to locate the suspect. 

"I respect that there's days off and everything, but this is the RCMP, things need to be dealt with, crime doesn't sleep," Hnatiuk siad 

"I'm pretty much just sitting here waiting."


ORIGINAL: NOV. 20

A Kelowna businessman is wondering what's taking police so long to catch the man who broke into his store, after he “handed them this guy on a silver platter.”

The glass door of Sun City Vapors’ Rutland location was smashed in with a rock early Monday, and thousands of dollars of merchandise was stolen.

“I’m probably out at least three grand, including my door and everything,” said Trent Hnatiuk. “All high-end e-cigarettes, vapourizers.”

Hnatiuk said he immediately began asking around the community and found his stolen merchandise being sold at City Pawn.

“By about 2 p.m., we already had the guy in a pawn shop trying to sell some of my stuff,” said Hnatiuk. “We have him all on camera with his ID.”

He sent the information to the RCMP Monday afternoon, but has been unhappy with the response.

“The police said they’d start looking into it by Friday, when the other officer gets on duty. Meanwhile, this guy is selling all my stuff for 10 cents on the dollar on the street, and the cops don’t really care.”

Cpl. Joe Duncan, with the Kelowna RCMP, confirmed police received the information Monday afternoon, and are currently investigating the incident.

“They’ve received information from that pawn shop and they’re following up on that,” Duncan said. “They’re still trying to locate the person who provided ID … they’re following up on that tip.”

The Rutland location of Sun City Vapors had only been open for a month when the robbery happened.

Hnatiuk said he has talked with members of security companies, who told him there had been a string of robberies in the area in recent weeks.

“Between the RCMP and the security company, they’re scrambling to try and figure out what’s going on,” he said. “I strongly think this is the guy responsible for all the BS in that end of town. I bet people would be sleeping a lot better if their stores weren’t getting broken into.”

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