Two women, including one in her 80s, were robbed in Mill Lake Park in Abbotsford on Monday night by two men believed to be carrying handguns.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the two women – one in her 40s and the other in her 80s who uses a walker – began walking around the park at about 7:45 p.m.
The women were near the Bevan Avenue parking lot at about 8:50 p.m., preparing to leave, when they were suddenly approached by two young men wearing hoodies and bandanas covering the lower portion of their faces.
MacDonald said the men pointed what were believed to be handguns at the women and demanded their valuables.
He said the thieves got away with a cellphone, a small amount of cash and a fanny pack and ran toward the intersection of Bevan Avenue and Ware Street.
The women, who were shaken, managed to contact police.
The suspects are both described as South Asian males, 17 to 20 years old.
One was 5′ 10″ to six feet tall and about 150 pounds. He was wearing a dark hoodie, a dark bandana and white checkered pants.
The other was about six feet tall and 160 pounds. He was wearing a light-coloured hoodie and a dark bandana.
These suspect descriptions are different from three previous robberies and assaults that have occurred in Mill Lake Park.
The first took place on June 9 at about 3 p.m., when a 26-year-old man who was riding his bike was approached by three men and then hit several times, possibly with a skateboard.
One of the suspects produced a knife.
The second assault was on June 21 at about 5 a.m., when a 39-year-old man, also riding a bike, was attacked by three young men when he refused to give them his bicycle.
The third incident was on Aug. 5, when a 51-year-old man who was sleeping on some grass next to a picnic area awoke to the sound of someone rifling through his belongings.
He confronted two young men who were in the process of taking his wallet, cash and other items. One of the culprits struck the victim in the neck during the altercation.
The suspects in the three prior assaults were described as Caucasian and in their early 20s. In the first two incidents, the men were described as wearing “skater” type clothing.
Also at Mill Lake Park, the body of a 36-year-old woman from Mission was found on July 30 in a forested area of the park at Emerson Street and Bevan Avenue. Her cause of death has not been released, pending results of an autopsy.
MacDonald said he understands public concerns about the safety of the park. He said police stepped up enforcement there after the first assault and continue to patrol the area every day using both uniformed and plainclothes officers, as well as bike cops.
“We recognize we can’t be everywhere at once … We are doing our best to address (the public safety issues),” he said, adding that patrols will be increased even further.
One regular park-goer said these recent incidents “personally outrage” her.
“You can’t feel safe in your own park,” she said.
Anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225, text 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.