Robbed at gunpoint

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 6:50 p.m.

An armed robbery at a downtown business brought police racing, guns drawn, Monday afternoon.

An employee at the Garden of Eden on Lawrence Avenue says two armed men came into the business late in the afternoon.

One of them punched the owner, knocking him to the ground.

"They just made me sit on the floor, do not move," the employee told Castanet in an exclusive interview.

"They say don't move or they're gonna basically shoot me."

The men were wearing masks covering their faces, one a red bandana, the other a black bandana. Both had glasses covering their eyes.

She said both men were armed. One with a shotgun, the other with a smaller pistol and bear spray.

"They put the guns to the head of my owner.

"They make him open the safe. They took all his watches, jewelry, they took all the money from the safe."

The employee said one round was shot into the floor, presumably, she said, by accident.

Several police cruisers mobilized to the area, blocking off Lawrence Avenue between Pandosy and Water streets with shotguns drawn.

Police dogs also aided in the search.

The men fled east on Lawrence.

Police are now confirming details of the robbery, and are asking area businesses to review their video surveillance footage for anything that may be of interest to the investigation.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Const. Steve McBride of the Kelowna RCMP General Investigation Section at 250-762-3300. Or remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

UPDATE: 5:50 p.m.

RCMP still have a police cruiser blocking the right lane at Lawrence Avenue and Water Street, however, Lawrence is again open to traffic.

UPDATE: 5:20 p.m.

The search for a suspect continues in downtown Kelowna. Police and police dogs have been combing the area around Lawrence and Pandosy.

The Chapman Parkade had been blocked off for close to an hour. Police are now letting vehicles exit the parkade.

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

RCMP are asking people to avoid the area around Kelowna's Chapman Parkade.

Police arrived in force about 4:30 p.m., blocking off Lawrence Avenue between Water and Pandosy streets.

While RCMP are saying little, an unconfirmed report from a witness says a suspect was apparently seen with a gun in the downtown area.

Police and police dogs are combing the area looking for the individual.

ORIGINAL: 4:40 p.m.

RCMP have a portion of downtown Kelowna blocked off.

Police swarmed the area around Chapman Parkade about 4:30 p.m. Monday, blocking Lawrence Avenue between Water and Pandosy streets.

Several officers had rifles drawn.

Traffic in and out of the parkade has been curtailed.

Police are not saying what brought them to the area.

More information as it becomes available.

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