Campus security stepped up after armed carjacking at UBC
A car was allegedly stolen at gunpoint Tuesday in what police are a calling a "brazen daylight robbery" at the University of British Columbia, prompting increased security patrols on campus.
At around 6:30 p.m., Mounties say they received a call that a car had been stolen. The victim said she was returning to her vehicle on the 10th floor of the West Parkade at UBC.
Police say she was approached by two suspects, when one allegedly produced a small handgun and demanded her keys. She handed them over and wasn't injured as the suspects took off in her vehicle.
“This is a really rare occurrence and it’s certainly really concerning for the university community and that’s why we are stepping up patrols and doing our best to notify our community about it," said Kurt Heinrich, senior director of media relations.
UBC has not said what additional safety measures, if any, it will take in light of what happened. The university has posted an alert about the incident on its website.
Mounties provided an update on the investigation from E-Division Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, revealing they’d found some of the victim’s belongings near Jericho Beach Park in Kitsilano.
“They were found in the 4300 block of West Third,” said BC RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau. “If you saw this grey Kia Spectra pull over and drop off what could be looked at as garbage or personal belongings from this vehicle with two young males in it, we want you to contact UBC RCMP.”
He added that Mounties are working closely with campus security services, with a focus on reviewing surveillance video from the many cameras in the area.
Students and staff who use the parkade say the 10th floor is usually busy in the afternoon but can be isolated during the morning and evening, and say it’s likely few people would have been around when the carjacking happened.
“It’s pretty dead, especially at the 10th floor, there’s no one there,” said UBC student Mustafa Puri, who parks in the West Parkade nearly every day during the week with his brother. “I would think maybe the carjackers knew that.”
“I feel like they should have more security around the parkades especially,” said Hazma Puri. “I feel like this can happen again if the right measures aren’t taken into account by UBC.”
There are some cameras in the parkade, including near the front entrance and on emergency call boxes, but there are no visible security cameras on the 10th floor.
The suspects may not have had an easy getaway. The drive from the tenth floor to down the parkade exit is winding. It takes about 2 minutes when driving normally.
Police are now seeking the public's help in locating the vehicle and identifying the suspects, and are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who may have dash cam footage from UBC and the Jericho Beach Park area from late Tuesday afternoon.
The first suspect is described as male, possibly South Asian, and 6 feet tall, with a slim build. He was wearing a grey hoodie, black jogging pants and was carrying a palm-sized black handgun.
The second suspect is described as a darker-skinned male, but his ethnicity is unknown. He was wearing a dark long-sleeved shirt and pants.
The car that was stolen is a grey 2007 Kia Spectra with B.C. licence plate 308 PSG. Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to not approach it and instead call 911 immediately.