Welding-mask robbery suspect charged

Abbotsford Police have arrested a man accused of robbing a 7-Eleven convenience store on Immel Street.

Abbotsford Police have arrested the man suspected of robbing a 7-Eleven convenience store on Immel Street in Abbotsford last week.

Clayton George Williscroft, 32, of Abbotsford was arrested last Friday and has been charged with robbery and wearing a disguise to commit an indictable offence.

On Monday, June 24, a man wearing a welding mask and brandishing a tire iron entered the store at about 4:15 a.m.

The culprit opened both cash registers, grabbed a small amount of money, and then fled the scene on foot.

Const. Ian MacDonald said evidence was gathered at the scene by members of the patrol division, K9 unit and forensic section.

The major crime unit joined in, and a suspect was identified.

Evidence leading to the arrest included video surveillance from several cameras in the store.

MacDonald said although the welding mask concealed everything but the suspect’s eyes, other distinguishing features visible on the video footage helped identify him.

Williscroft has no previous criminal record, according to the provincial court database. He was released from jail on $1,500 bail and is next scheduled to appear in Abbotsford provincial court on July 15.

MacDonald said business robberies are down 50 per cent from January to June of this year, when there were eight, compared to the same period in 2012, when there were 16.

Bank robberies have dropped from three for the first six months of last year to one for the same time frame in 2013.

MacDonald said the decrease can be attributed, in part, to efforts from the business community.

“There’s a lot of awareness, and a fair amount of ‘target hardening’ has happened,” he said of the use of increased security measures such as video surveillance.

MacDonald said credit also has to go to officers for their diligent work in identifying robbery suspects. In addition to Williscroft, recent arrests include Christopher John Olson of Chilliwack, who was charged with robbing three Abbotsford businesses and one in Chilliwack.