‘Courageous’ man who chased down robber in Vancouver dies in Calgary workplace accident

Frank Simchak Jr., a construction worker who chased down the robber of a Subway store in Vancouver last September, was killed last month in a Calgary workplace accident. The Province

A Good Samaritan who chased down and captured a robber in downtown Vancouver is being remembered as “everyone’s protector,” after he died last month in a workplace accident.

Frank Simchak Jr. was working at a Calgary construction site last month when he became pinned on a scissor lift and taken to hospital in critical condition. The 30-year-old spent five days at Foothills Hospital in a coma and on life support, surrounded by family who had flown into Calgary, before he died March 22.

“It’s been tough but luckily all of us have been helping each other and holding each other up,” said Simchak’s sister, Susan Stanley, who called her baby brother “courageous.”

Back in September, Simchak was using the washroom of a Subway in the 100-block of West Hastings in downtown Vancouver when he came out to see an employee shaking and in tears following a robbery. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound trained martial artist then chased the suspect on the street, punched him out and held him until police arrived.

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James Frederick Escher, of no fixed address, was charged with one count of robbery. He had just finished serving a 30-month sentence for robbery in Kelowna at the time of the Vancouver incident.

“(Frank) was so proud,” Stanley said. “He felt good that he was able to be in the right place at the right time and was able to help someone.”

Stanley said her brother’s actions didn’t surprise her at all and that it was very much his character to protect those around him.

Simchak was born Sept. 3, 1982 in New Westminster and grew up in Port Moody. He worked in construction and had just been promoted to oversee a work site in Calgary prior to this passing. On weekends, Simchak was also a professional DJ at local nightclubs.

A memorial for Simchak has been scheduled for April 20. He is survived by his two-year-old daughter Ava, his wife, two sisters, his parents and many friends.

“He had just told my sister Helen a few weeks ago that his greatest accomplishment in life was his beautiful daughter Ava,” Stanley shared. “She has an enigmatic spirit just like her daddy.”

A trust fund has been established in Simchak’s name to benefit his daughter Ava. For more information on how to donate, email


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