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‘Give me all your cash or I’ll stab you’: Vernon, B.C. pizzeria robbed at knifepoint

A family-run pizzeria was robbed at knife-point on Saturday evening. .
A family-run pizzeria was robbed at knife-point on Saturday evening. . Megan Turcato / Global News

The owner of a family-run Vernon pizzeria says a knifepoint robbery on Saturday night has taken an emotional toll.

Valerie Heemskerk said she and her sister we closing down Top Choice Pizza, on 29 Ave. in downtown Vernon, on Saturday night when someone came in really quickly.

Heemskerk said it felt like “an out of body experience” as it was hard to believe what was happening, but the man, who’d come in with his face covered, had a knife.

“He’s like, ‘Give me all your cash or I’ll stab you,'” Heemskerk said.

READ MORE: Suspect accused of allegedly robbing the same Vernon business 3 times

Heemskerk said he watched her as she opened the till drawer for him. He then made off with cash without injuring anyone.

Heemskerk, however, said it was frightening to feel so defenseless.

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“It was scary because I had nothing,” she said. “I’m like, ‘I have nothing to defend myself with. He could stab me and there is not a darn thing I could do about it.'”

As he left, she called police and followed him out the door to see what direction he was going.

READ MORE: Vernon restaurant calls for public safety measures after business robbed with needle

RCMP said “numerous officers flooded the area…but were unable to locate him.”

Heemskerk praised the quick police response but said, since the man had his face covered, it was difficult to get a good description.

Business leaves downtown Vernon due to crime concerns
Business leaves downtown Vernon due to crime concerns

Police said the man was Caucasian, in his early 20s and was wearing a dark jacket and a hoodie.

“I know my sister and I have both lost a fair bit of sleep wishing we could have got a better description,” she said.

The incident has shaken the family business.

“My sister said on her nights off,…’I’m going to be worrying the whole night now if you guys are okay,'” Heemskerk said.

READ MORE: Knife-wielding suspect robs Penticton pizza shop

Heemskerk said this is the first time in 12 years of doing business that something like this has occurred.

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The business now plans to install security cameras in the wake of the theft.

Police said Monday that their investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.