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Suspects fail to get away with cellphone theft at A&W in Nanaimo

Senior, Good Samaritan and RCMP bike patrol officers team up in incident
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Nanaimo RCMP bike patrol unit officers arrested two suspects after the victim and a concerned citizen tangled with two men who tried to make off with a cellphone on Thursday, Nov. 16. (Black Press Media file photo)

RCMP bike patrol unit officers were able to round up two robbery suspects, thanks to help from the victim and a concerned citizen.

The incident unfolded at the A&W restaurant on Victoria Crescent in downtown Nanaimo shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16.

According to reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson, the victim, a 66-year-old man from out of town, was having breakfast when the suspects grabbed his cellphone and bolted for the restaurant’s exit door. He gave chase, along with another restaurant patron, to “try to prevent these guys from taking off.”

It so happened that RCMP bike patrol officers were nearby and saw the commotion breaking out on the street.

“They see the scuffle, they get involved, they recognize one of the suspects and they arrest him,” O’Brien said.

The second suspect managed to flee, but police caught up with him “a short time and distance away.”

The victim sustained cuts and bruises in the altercation. O’Brien did not have information on whether the Good Samaritan who assisted the victim sustained injuries.

“We want to thank the other individual in the restaurant who, without regard for his own personal safety, got involved. His actions undoubtedly saved the victim from further injury and bought the police enough time to make an arrest,” O’Brien said.

Both suspects were arrested – one suspect for breach of probation and assault and the other for theft under $5,000 – and will appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Jan. 16.

“They were released to allow the officers sufficient time to collect the evidence necessary to substantiate the charges,” O’Brien said.

One piece of evidence regarding the theft still needs to be collected. While police managed to nab both suspects, they were unable to locate the cellphone. Investigators are continuing to look for a green iPhone 13. Anyone who finds the phone or has information regarding its whereabouts is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and refer to file No. 2023-39857.

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