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Police seeking suspect in two bank robberies

THE SECURITY IMAGE on the left shows a suspect entering the Comox location of Coastal Community Credit Union on Monday morning. On the right, about four hours later, a man enters the Bank of Montreal in Campbell River. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
THE SECURITY IMAGE on the left shows a suspect entering the Comox location of Coastal Community Credit Union on Monday morning. On the right, about four hours later, a man enters the Bank of Montreal in Campbell River.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

Both Comox Valley and Campbell River RCMP are seeking information from the public to aid in locating a suspect believed to have robbed banks in each community Monday.

Const. Nicole Hall of the Comox Valley RCMP said it would appear to be the same suspect with similar details who entered the Coastal Community Credit Union on Comox Avenue shortly before 10 a.m.

Around 2:15 p.m., police in Campbell River responded to a bank robbery at the Bank of Montreal on Shoppers Row.

Officers searched the downtown area with their dog unit.

"While rare, (robberies) do happen," noted Staff Sgt. Troy Beauregard of the Campbell River RCMP, who said the detachment will work with together with Comox Valley RCMP.

The suspect is described as Caucasian, about 5'10", slim and wearing jeans, a black coat with the hood up, a dark gray scarf around his face and aviator sunglasses in both incidents.

The man demanded money and told staff he had a gun. He then took off with an undisclosed amount of money.

"We have a very well-established set of emergency procedures, which protect the safety of our members and I'm really proud of our employees," said Joe Cristiano, chief community and marketing officer at Coastal Community Credit Union. "The employees did follow those procedures very well."

“We are thankful that no one was harmed during this incident. Our members, clients, employees and communities' safety is a top priority for our organization. We will continue to work with authorities and support our employees and their families,” noted Adrian Legin, president and CEO of the credit union in a release.

Cristiano noted he isn't aware of the Comox location of the credit union ever dealing with a similar robbery in the past.

He added while the established emergency procedures cover a range of potential incidents, including robbery, part of the process following a robbery is to review the situation and regulations, and see if anything needs to be adjusted.

Dan Kyle of Nearly New Books a few doors down from the credit union, explained despite the neighbouring incident, he does not feel uncomfortable in the area and will return to the bank.

"It doesn't change the flavour of the area. It's one person and when (the police) catch him, the truth will come out. It seems like an isolated incident," he said, and added he practices security measures in his store such as using an alarm and not keeping cash on the premises.

Barbara Craig Waite, who has been a member of the credit union for years, said while she is cautious about using the bank, particularly at night, she will not stop frequenting the location.

"I just feel downright annoyed," she explained. "It's taken away the innocence in my town."

Waite said she feels particularly bad for the tellers who had to face the robber.

"I'm just glad no one was injured; money is not worth a life."

RCMP are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or text anonymously cvcstips to CRIME.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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