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Victoria patrol officers nab suspect seconds after bank robbery

Just seconds after a man allegedly robbed a bank in downtown Victoria Friday afternoon, Victoria patrol officers had placed him in handcuffs.

Police say a man in his mid-50s allegedly robbed the Bank of Montreal branch at the corner of Douglas and Yates streets around 3 p.m. There were no injuries during the robbery or during the arrest, which was described by police as “smooth” and “without violence.”

“He was arrested a block away,” said Sgt. Keith Lewis, who was the duty watch commander back at the department when the crime allegedly occurred. “It was one of those good things.”

He did not know the sum of money that had allegedly been taken.

A patrol unit happened to be “30 seconds away” from the bank at the time and, thanks to a detailed description of the suspect, the two officers spotted and quickly apprehended the man, Lewis said. He would not say if police happened to be in the bank at the time of the incident.

“We’re not allowed to make an arrest in a bank,” Lewis said.

The arrest is significant, in part because of the busy day and heavy call load police were experiencing Friday, he said.

“Sometimes we need a little luck and we had that today.”

Late into the afternoon and early evening on Friday Victoria police detectives were working the crime scene at the bank, pulling surveillance tapes and questioning bank tellers and other staff members.

“Obviously there’s a ton of video at the bank,” Lewis said, adding that with the lone suspect in custody, detective could concentrate their efforts on the investigation.

“You don’t rush that,” he said, adding that detectives were taking extra care given the trauma the staff may have experienced. “It can be pretty terrifying to be robbed.”

Lewis did not know whether a weapon had been used in the alleged robbery.

A sign on the front door of the bank branch informed customers there had been a robbery, and that it would be closed for the rest of the day. The sign suggested customers use the nearest branch in James Bay.

Asked whether the suspect is known to police, Lewis said, “I’m satisfied ... that he has quite a history of crime.”

The man, whose name was not being released, was scheduled to appear at a court telebail hearing Saturday morning.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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