Calgary bar takes to social media after robbery to identify suspect

Calgary bar turns to social media to catch robber
WATCH: A Calgary bar is taking action after a brazen midday robbery. The staff is turning to modern-day crime-fighting tools to try to catch the crook. Cami Kepke explains.

A Calgary bar is taking action after a brazen midday robbery on Saturday.

Security video from Atlas Pizza shows a man in a grey sweater run behind the bar, grab a handful of cash and back away as the manager draws closer.

Staff decided to post screenshots of the video on social media in hopes of identifying the suspect.

As of Monday afternoon, the pictures had been shared more than 1,000 times.

“It’s difficult to believe because it’s so brazen,” owner Chris Theodossopoulos said of the robbery. “People just don’t do that.”

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Besides the public call for information, Theodossopoulos has also reached out to other businesses to warn them and talk about prevention.

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“Hopefully they catch this guy, and hopefully other businesses are more prepared to prevent these kinds of incidents,” he said.

The Calgary Police Service said these pictures can help investigations when used with proper caution. CPS said they generally prefer to release photos themselves because of their wider social media reach as well as for privacy reasons.

“[We can] put some rigor around enhancing the video, [give it] proper vetting to eliminate any passersby or clients or patrons that may have been in the vicinity at the time,” Insp. Asif Rashid explained. “We’ve done it a lot in the past and it’s worked to our advantage several times.”

Along with security footage, a bar manager at Atlas Pizza was able to get the suspect’s licence plate number.

The man hasn’t been identified yet, but police said the suspect and a vehicle that was used could be connected to about 10 other robberies.

“Oftentimes, these kinds of thefts could escalate to a point where violence is inflicted upon our community,” Rashid said. “That’s a significant concern for us.”

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Theodossopoulos said he hopes the social media attention makes thieves think twice, but for now, his staff is focusing on business as usual.

“It’s not only the monetary damage — it can be the emotional damage to people,” he said. “Luckily, in our instance, that wasn’t the case.”