Thief posing as mall security guard steals phone, wallet from kids: parents
Published Friday, January 5, 2018 7:18PM PST
A teenage suspect is facing criminal charges after two children were robbed at a Metro Vancouver mall and their family used information from a stolen bank card to track the thief down.
Wednesday began as a fun day of shopping at Park Royal mall in West Vancouver for Chris, his 10-year-old son, and 12-year-old nephew. The father did not want to give his last name, or the boys' names, for fear of repercussions at his son's school.
While the two boys were browsing in Atmosphere, someone approached them claiming to be a loss prevention officer.
"He said, Come out to the mall area, and then he started to go into his bag," Chris said. "Just then, he grabbed my son's wallet and [my nephew's] phone and ran off."
Chris said the boys were suspicious of the man since he didn't have a badge or a uniform, but then he grabbed valuables out of the boys' hands. Chris' son phoned him, and Chris phoned the police.
Officers were able to get a photo of the man from security footage at one of the mall's stores. They began searching Park Royal.
Meanwhile, Chris' brother called the bank about his son's bank card inside the stolen wallet, and found that the card was already being used at stores in downtown Vancouver.
Armed with the photo, the two families went downtown to look for the thief.
Eventually, Chris' girlfriend, Annsabelle, spotted the man on Nelson Street.
"I saw him and I said, Chris that's him," she said. "So I got out of his car and called 911."
The suspect darted into a marijuana dispensary, and Chris followed.
"I grabbed him by the side of his jacket," he said. "Just then my brother showed up and another officer showed up and arrested him."
When the officer searched the 17-year-old suspect, they found the wallet, the phone and the bank card. Minutes before, the teen had allegedly tried to rob a nearby store at knifepoint.
"Officers were aware of the description of the robbery that had recently happened in Vancouver and realized the description of the male was the same male they had in custody," Sgt. Jason Robillard told CTV.
The teen is facing several criminal charges.
Police warned it's not safe for civilians to try and track down suspects on their own, but Chris and his family have no regrets.
"You don't rip off little kids," he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson