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Abbotsford Police robbery awareness plan working

Robbery awareness has been an initiative of the Abbotsford Police. -
Robbery awareness has been an initiative of the Abbotsford Police.
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Last year, the Abbotsford Police Department launched a poster campaign and held public awareness meetings about robberies at banks and other businesses.

Const. Ian MacDonald said it looks like the messages are getting through. Earlier this week, an employee of a bank thwarted what police believe would have been a robbery attempt.

Police had previously identified sunglasses, hoodies and hats/baseball caps as the main choice of attire for robbers. They created a poster for businesses to display that states, “No hats, no hoodies, no sunglasses. Please remove at door.”

MacDonald said the bank employee, who was aware of the information, noticed a customer wearing sunglasses on a dark, rainy day.

She approached the man and asked him to remove his shades, but he instead fled the scene.

MacDonald said if it wasn’t for her actions, the culprit likely would have robbed the bank and possibly could have had a weapon.

“That’s exactly what we want ... Here’s a good example of what a business can do to help (the police),” he said.

Another example occurred on March 25, when an alert customer at an Abbotsford  pharmacy spotted two suspicious looking men with a duffel bag that might have contained a gun, and called 911. The culprits left before confronting any pharmacy staff.

Also that day, a successful robbery took place at a different pharmacy, in the 30400 block of Blueridge Drive. The suspect got away with cash and drugs, but he was caught on video — another tactic promoted by the police during their awareness campaign last year.

MacDonald said thanks to the video police have now identified a suspect in that incident, although no arrest has yet been made.

He said police are planning more robbery awareness presentations this year.

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