Bystanders stop armed robbery, vehicle theft in Nanaimo
The attempted armed robbery and vehicle theft occurred on Friday afternoon: (File Photo)
VICTORIA -- The Nanaimo RCMP are thanking a group of bystanders who helped intervene in an attempted armed robbery and vehicle theft last week.
Police say that the robbery attempt took place at the 7-Eleven located at 506 Fifth St. at roughly 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Witnesses of the botched robbery told police that a man entered the convenience store while brandishing a gun and wearing a bandana and backpack.
He then demanded cash from an employee and placed the firearm, which was later confirmed to be a replica, on the counter.
Once the gun was put down, a bystander picked up the gun and “began striking the suspect with it,” Mounties say.
Once the bystander began to intervene, the suspect fled the convenience store and attempted to run into an awaiting vehicle, dropping his backpack in the process.
“Unbeknownst to the suspect, while he was attempting to rob the 7-Eleven, an unknown male noticed the keys in the ignition of his truck and decided to steal the truck,” said the Nanaimo RCMP.
Mounties say that while the attempted robbery was taking place, a concerned citizen saw a man enter a truck and attempt to steal it. The concerned citizen yelled at the attempted vehicle thief to stop, prompting the driver to exit the vehicle and flee the scene on foot, dropping the truck keys onto the ground in the process.
The 7-Eleven suspect then reached his truck, realized that the keys were no longer in the ignition, and attempted to flee the area on foot.
Several Nanaimo RCMP members then arrived at the scene, including a K9 unit, and located the 7-Eleven suspect roughly 30 minutes later.
Police say that the suspect allegedly discarded a number of items while he was trying to flee which were later retrieved by officers.
Alexandre Babin, of no fixed address, has been released from police custody on conditions, with a court appearance scheduled for June 2.
Mounties are now asking for any witnesses of the two incidents to come forward and speak with police.
"Investigators spoke with a number of witnesses, however there are several that they have been unable to speak with," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
Anyone with information on the two alleged crimes is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.