Police arrest suspect in armed robbery of drug store

Police arrest suspect in armed robbery of drug store

A 22-year-old Castlegar resident is facing a laundry list of charges after attempting to rob a local drug store while brandishing a hammer.

Castlegar RCMP Cpl. Darryl Orr said police were called at 12:20 p.m. to Paragon Pharmacy (just off Columbia Avenue near McDonald’s), where staff said the male suspect, wearing a balaclava, had threatened them with a hammer and demanded medicine.

“A struggle ensued between the suspect and the pharmacy staff, resulting in the suspect fleeing the scene on foot,” Orr said. “Thankfully, none of the pharmacy staff were injured.”

Orr said the man fled without having obtained any drugs, money or merchandise from the store.

A police dog named Riggs as well as extra officers from Trail were brought in to help find the suspect.

After police interviewed witnesses, searched the area, and tentatively identified the suspect's car, Orr said a constable with Castlegar’s Crime Reduction Unit was able to positively identify the fleeing suspect on a surveillance video, and police headed to the man’s house.

“On the way to his house, we spotted him – he had re-armed himself and was preparing to commit another robbery,” Orr said. “Five minutes would’ve made the difference – if we’d been even five minutes later getting there, we would have been looking at a second robbery.

“The suspect was …taken down at gunpoint by attending members.”

Orr said the man is well known to police, and RCMP are recommending charges of robbery, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, and wearing a disguise with intent while committing an offence.

Orr said the outcome was positive this time, but he doesn’t recommend confronting an armed assailant.

“I’d recommend that you give the person what they want, and let us do our job,” he said. “Chances are much lower that you’ll get hurt that way