Gunpoint pot shop robbery caught on camera
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 5:52PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:17PM PDT
A group of suspects who committed a violent robbery at a Vancouver marijuana dispensary last weekend are considered armed and dangerous, police warn.
The dispensary on East 41 Avenue near Knight Street, called the Stressed and Depressed Association, was robbed on Sunday evening by four people.
The entire incident was caught on several surveillance cameras in footage obtained exclusively by CTV News.
Two people entered the front door of the store, and had a short conversation with two employees at the counter. Then the suspects, a man and a woman, pulled out guns and forced the employees to the ground.
"We don't want to get stabbed, we don't want to get beaten, we don't want to get shot," said employee Sean Coward, recalling that the suspects pointed a gun at his face.
"It's not worth that kind of physical risk to try to fight back."
The armed robbers then let two more people into the store by its back door, and the four suspects grabbed everything they could.
"It's brutal, it's brutal," store owner David Malmo-Levine said.
The thieves, who forced Coward to open the shop's safe, made off with "almost everything," he said, including thousands of dollars of cash and products.
Although Coward complied with their demands, one of the suspects punched him hard in the jaw, leaving his face a bit swollen days later.
Sunday's was the dispensary's third robbery. The first time it was hit was just a few months after opening last spring.
In May 2015, thieves broke into the store by smashing a van through its front window.
No arrests have been made in the most recent case, but police said the surveillance footage will help in their investigation.
"We are taking steps to identify these people and to do it as quick as possible to have these people brought forward to be responsible for their actions," Vancouver Police Const. Jason Doucette said.
Malmo-Levine said police told him it was some of the best security footage they'd ever seen, due to the number of cameras. He added that he advised anyone selling cannabis to get several cameras.
Anyone with more information on the robbery or the suspects' identities is asked to call a police tipline at 604-717-0613, or to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.