An attempted robbery at the Happy Valley Foods convenience store and Esso gas station in Barnhartvale on Thursday morning had police looking for a suspect and led to nearby R.L. Clemitson Elementary to undergo hold and secure protocol.
(Hold and secure protocol is enacted when there is a threat in the general area of a school, but not on the property. During this protocol, school doors are locked, but classes continue as normal. A lockdown occurs when there is a threat near or at the school. During a lockdown, doors are locked, lights are turned off, blinds are drawn and students are kept in classrooms or designated areas.)
Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said a man threatened staff with pepper spray during the failed robbery attempt at 11:30 a.m. When he did not manage to get any money or goods, the man left the store on foot.
The pepper spray was not activated and there were no injuries to the employees of the store at 6221 Barnhartvale Rd.
As of noon, Mounties were in the area searching for the suspect, described as an Indigenous man in his mid-30s. He was wearing a black and grey plaid scarf over his face, a black Northface jacket, a black baseball cap, jeans and black shoes with blue laces.
Shelkie said the public is being asked to avoid the Barhartvale area as the search continues.