Police in three provinces, including here in the Okanagan, are asking for the public’s help to identify and locate a suspect in series of armed robberies that took place at financial institutions in B.C, Alberta and Saskatchewan over the last 12 weeks.
The robberies included the hold-up of the Interior Savings Credit Union branch on 32nd Street in Vernon Dec. 9.
“All the robberies involved a weapon, either being produced or mentioned,” said Const.Kris Clark of the Kelowna RCMP Tuesday.
Speaking for the force’s South-east division, he said In all instances, the suspect fled the financial institution on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.
No employees or customers present any of the in the financial institutions—located in Princeton, B.C. (Dec. 1), Vernon, B.C. (Dec. 9), High River, Alberta (Dec. 19), Merritt, B.C. (Dec 23), Swift Current, Saskatchewan (Jan. 8), Lethbridge, Alberta (Jan. 13), Claresholm, Alberta (Jan. 16) or Aldergrove, B.C. (Jan. 21) were physically injured at the time of the robberies, Clark added.
In addition to the RCMP in B.C, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Lethbridge Regional Police Service is also appealing for the public’s help in finding the man.
According to police, a white male, aged between 25 and 25 entered each of the financial institutions and demanded money before fleeing on foot.
Clark said a firearm was either brandished or mentioned during the man’s demand for money.
The lone robber is described as having a slim build, five-feet, six-inchs to six feet tall, unshaven with a brown goatee or beard. During the robberies he wore dark clothing, gloves, a black toque and sunglasses, said Clark.
While the manhunt is being co-ordinated by the RCMP in Calgary, public appeals for help were also made in Kelowna, Calgary, Lethbridge and Regina on Tuesday.
Clark the public should not approach the suspect as he is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information regarding the suspects or any of the robberies, call is asked to call the tip line at 1-844-887-6287.
Clark said while RCMP here have seen series of robberies in the past, but this is a first in that the crime spree covered three provinces. He said both the investigation to date and video surveillance collected from the crime scenes appear to indicate the robberies are the work of the same man.
What what has police stumped, however, is the lack of any pattern to the robberies. Some occurred earlier in the afternoon, others lter and one at night. With the exception of over Christmas, there was a robbery just about each week as the man moved randomly back and forth through southern B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
While some of the robberies took place in small towns, others targeted financial institutions medium-sized centres.
Video surveillance footage of the suspect entering the Canada Trust branch in Lethbridge earlier this month has been posted on You Tube at: http://youtu.be/z1bKNj0gGl8 .