Shaken by armed robbery

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

A Kelowna store owner hopes a man will turn himself in after he pointed a gun at her and stole hundreds of dollars from her flower store.

“Thank god nobody got hurt,” said Marie Shandalla store owner of Earthly Creations Floral Art Gift Gallery.

It was just after 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 26, when the man entered her store. He wandered around for a few minutes and Shandalla asked if he needed help with anything.

“He pulled out a gun and said I am here to rob you,” she recalls.

She told him to “please just take what you want in peace.”

The store bookkeeper was in the back and quickly dialled 911.

He grabbed a stack of $20 and $5 bills, and left the store.

Police believe the man then fled and attempted to rob a store in Vernon later that night at about 10 p.m. An employee was able to press a panic button and the man quickly left without any cash. 

Const. Lesley Smith said public safety is always a concern when armed robberies take place.

“Kelowna RCMP are working with Vernon RCMP as we do see similarities between the two armed robberies,” said Smith.

Shandalla said the man had a knit scarf wrapped around his face and 'soft eyes.' He was also holding a black grocery bag in which he stored the stolen money.

“I just pray he walks in and returns what he took and gets the help he does need,” she said. “Showing a gun is … it’s not a toy it changes people’s lives.”

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

RCMP say armed robberies in Kelowna and Vernon on Friday are linked.

Police are investigating after a suspect robbed a store in Kelowna and then fled to Vernon to attempt another robbery.

About 4:30 p.m., RCMP responded to a 911 call from a business on the 2600 block of Pandosy Street in Kelowna.

An employee said a man entered the business and demanded money while pointing a black handgun.

The man fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash.

“Police were able to collect video surveillance from the neighbouring business,” said Const. Lesley Smith. “The video shows the male suspect in a light grey hoodie carrying a black bag. The male then covers his face with his scarf and is observed entering into the store where he commits the robbery.”

A few hours later, Vernon RCMP received a report of an attempted robbery on the 3100 block of Coldstream Avenue.

A man entered the location, allegedly produced what appeared to be a firearm and demanded cash from the two employees. A panic alarm was pushed, and the suspect fled the store empty handed.

“The suspect male didn’t have time to act during this incident, as the employee was able to ... activate the alarm,” said Const. Kelly Brett. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

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