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Nanaimo gas station robbed by repeat offender with dollar-store toy gun

Suspect remained close by the crime scene where she was subsequently arrested
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Nanaimo RCMP arrested a woman who allegedly used at toy gun to rob a gas station Monday, Nov. 20. She is reportedly the same person who committed a similar crime at the same business a little over a year ago. (Black Press Media file photo)

A suspect in Nanaimo has re-defined the term repeat offender, allegedly robbing the same gas station twice, a little over a year apart.

Police responded to the Mid Island Co-op gas bar on Victoria Crescent in downtown Nanaimo at about 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, after a woman entered the business, produced what appeared to be a gun, and demanded money.

“The clerk thought the gun was fake, however, complied with the demands of the individual and placed the money in a bag that was produced,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson.

After being handed the money, the suspect left the store and sat down in the drive-thru at the adjacent fast-food restaurant. Police arrived and she was arrested without incident.

It turned out that a dollar-store toy cap gun had been used in the robbery.

O’Brien said the woman could be facing charges that include using a firearm to commit an offence, but police are investigating further before recommending charges.

“Investigators believe there are mental health issues at play. Outreach teams have been advised and further investigation is required before we proceed with charges…” he said. “Regardless if it’s a toy firearm, if she produced a firearm in the commission of an offence, to let others believe that it was a firearm, then she could be charged for firearms offences. It’s not to be taken lightly.”

Because the woman has not been charged, police have not released her identity.

The same gas bar was robbed with a toy pistol approximately 13 months ago.

“The individual involved who was arrested purportedly committed a very similar robbery at the same Co-op in October of 2022,” O’Brien said.

In the previous incident, the backpack containing the loot from the robbery was stolen by an opportunistic thief while police were in the process of arresting the initial robber. Officers managed to nab the second suspect and retrieve the backpack following that incident.

READ ALSO: Backpack of cash gets stolen while Nanaimo RCMP arrest alleged gas station robber