A suspect accused of robbing the same Vernon business three times is expected to face charges after the latest incident on Monday night.
Security guard Colleen Burke was on duty at the Subway location at Fruit Union Plaza on Monday evening when the latest robbery occurred.
Burke recalled seeing a man come in with a bandanna on his face and a “butcher knife in his hand.”
“Obviously he was going to rob the place,” she said.
“So I screamed at the staff to hide or to make themselves safe because that’s my main concern.”
Police said the two staff members fled unharmed.
“I screamed at the robber that he needed to drop the knife and get out and he just yelled ‘No!’ He kind of wielded the knife at me a little bit but he did not … you could tell he wasn’t going to make contact with me,” Burke said.
Instead, the security guard says the man went to the register and when he didn’t find what he was looking, for he left, at one point dropping the knife as he fled.
Burke said she stepped on the knife — something she advises others not to do — but the man picked it back up.
The guard said she flagged down an ambulance that happened to be in the area and it followed the man.
The incident culminated in the arrest of a 51-year-old suspect by RCMP
On Monday, police were recommending the suspect be charged with robbery, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and assault with a weapon.
Police allege the same man is responsible for not only Monday night’s robbery but two other armed holdups at the business since late August, all involving knives.
While the repeated robberies of the sandwich shop are an outlier, other businesses in the plaza also feeling the impact of crime.
“When we get tips, as soon as we get them, they have to go to the back because people will run in and steal them,” said Irelyn Osborne, who manages a fast food outlet called Oh So Potato in the same plaza.
“We have to have a certain amount of people on at a time and it is because of the safety issues,” Osborne said. “There is a rule you can’t go outside by yourself at night to take the garbage out.”
Local RCMP said the force is taking preventative measures to address safety concerns in the area.
“That involves us meeting with business owners, trying to be down on foot patrols. We try and look at all of our stats for what’s happening, where things are happening, so that we can address things,” said Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
Noseworthy also encourages the public to report any issues or problems to police so officers can follow up.
In the Subway case, police credit witnesses who saw a suspect fleeing with helping them make an arrest.