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Abbotsford Police are growing more frustrated about the recent spate of robberies at local businesses, with yet another one taking place – this time, at a pizza restaurant on Halloween night.
Const. Ian MacDonald said that despite more police focus on the issue, local businesses – including five Subway sandwich shops – continue to be hit.
Arrests have been made in some of the robberies, but most remain unsolved.
In most cases, a lone male with his face concealed – often by a hood wrapped tightly around his face – enters the business carrying a real or replica handgun, demands cash, and then flees.
It is not known whether the individual escapes in a car parked away from the scene, although, in the case of a Subway robbery on Oct. 18, the suspect fled in a vehicle at the back of the restaurant.
Surveillance video has been obtained, but concealment of the suspect's face has made it difficult for police to identify anyone.
"Whether it's an individual or a group of individuals or a pair of individuals, it's obviously the biggest crime issue we've faced this year," MacDonald said.
The latest robbery happened just before 10 p.m. on Monday at a Panago Pizza shop in the 3000 block of Immel Street.
Two employees in the restaurant were approached by a hoodie-wearing man with a gun. No customers were on hand at the time.
The man left the restaurant on foot, but MacDonald said a canvass of the neighbourhood indicated a suspicious vehicle had been spotted in the area.
However, because it was Halloween, it wouldn't have been out of line to see unknown vehicles in the neighbourhood, he said.
MacDonald said police are in need of information that can help them track down the person or people involved.
"We need a break. We need someone to give us some information."
Police have released still images of video obtained from gas station robberies on Oct. 6 in the 5100 block of Riverside Road and Oct. 12 in the 1900 block of Sumas Way. In both cases, the culprit was wearing dark clothes and black sunglasses, and brandished a gun.
Meanwhile, the names have been released of two men who were arrested in connection with two previous bank robberies in Abbotsford.
Joseph Pouliout, 25, and Trevor Yokubouskis, 29, are accused of committing simultaneous robberies on the afternoon of Sept. 24 at Coast Capital Savings and RBC Royal Bank in the 31900 block of South Fraser Way.
Surrey RCMP nabbed the pair in Burnaby on Sept. 27 for a rash of robberies across the Lower Mainland. In addition to Abbotsford, they occurred in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Chilliwack and the Okanagan.
Pouliout faces 14 robbery charges related to 13 bank robberies and one taxicab robbery. Yokubouskis faces eight robbery charges, all related to bank incidents.
Anyone with information about the unsolved robberies in Abbotsford is asked to call local police at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
TWELVE ROBBERIES IN TWO MONTHS
Abbotsford has recorded 12 business robberies since Sept. 4:
– Sept. 4 and 6 – Subway in the 2600 block of McMillan Road, unsolved;
– Sept. 21 – Subway in the 31900 block of South Fraser Way, unsolved;
– Sept. 24 – Coast Capital Savings and RBC in the 31900 block of South Fraser Way, two suspects charged;
– Sept. 28 – RBC in the 33700 block of South Fraser Way, one suspect charged;
– Oct. 6 – gas station in the 5100 block of Riverside Rd., unsolved;
– Oct. 12 – gas station in the 1900 block of Sumas Way, unsolved;
– Oct. 18 – Subway in the 1900 block of McCallum Rd. and Best Western Bakerview Inn on Sumas Way, both unsolved;
– Oct. 24 – Subway in the 32600 block of George Ferguson Way, unsolved;
– Oct. 25 – Liquor Barn in the 31900 block of South Fraser Way, one suspect charged; and
– Oct. 31 – Panago Pizza in the 3000 block of Immel Street, unsolved.