Film crew helps Surrey cops nab bank robber

The suspect's getaway was thwarted by filming of a complicated action scene involving explosions and car stunts - and police doing security

Surrey RCMP detain a man on 176A Street at 56A Avenue Thursday after responding to a report of a bank robbery nearby.

Surrey RCMP detain a man on 176A Street at 56A Avenue Thursday after responding to a report of a bank robbery nearby.

Who knew reality would provide more excitement than a Hollywood action comedy filming stunts with explosions, gunfire and car stunts in downtown Cloverdale?

Filming was interrupted Thursday on the set of Why We’re Killing Gunther, on location in the historic downtown, where a bank robbery nearly put a halt to the production.

The Taran Killam written and directed film production – starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (who has already wrapped his scenes) and Cobie Smulders – is in town this week to film numerous scenes for upcoming picture, about a group of disgruntled assassins who put out a hit on the world’s greatest hit man.

At around 12:30 p.m., Surrey RCMP responded to a call about a robbery at Coast Capital Savings in Clover Square Village – just two blocks from where an effects-laden scene involving burning cars and explosions was being filmed on 57 Avenue between 176 Street and 176A Street.

Thanks to eyewitnesses to the robbery, the first officers on the scene were able to broadcast a description of the suspect, which was instantly relayed to the film set.

As the call went out, the area was flooded with regular patrol officers and police officers who were already on the scene providing security and traffic control for the production.

Almost right away, one of the film crew members spotted a person matching the description, and told a police officer on the scene, who then tracked down the suspect and was able to take him into custody without incident.

“They kept filming,” according to Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, who was there with his iPhone to capture the take down. “At one point, the set deterred the robber’s getaway.”

Jeffry Ozolinz, 32, has been charged with robbery and is in custody.

“Thankfully no persons were injured during this incident,” Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said Friday. “But thanks to the film crew with a sharp eye, and the fast acting officer, this arrest was made in short order.”

Meantime, Orazietti said the location manager reported the movie will spend up to $50,000 to film in the Cloverdale downtown.

Scenes were filmed at the Vault Restaurant, doubling as the Castro Cafe Bar, with vintage European-style roadsters parked outside, as well as a nearby apartment unit.

Director Killam, who wrote, and is directing and acting in the feature (his first), earned raves from neighbouring businesses and fans for his easy-going, friendly attitude with the locals, genially posing for selfies and photographs, including one where he’s admiring the hanging baskets along 176 Street.


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