Police have recovered much of the jewelry stolen during a daring mid-morning robbery Thursday.
Investigators say they also found a replica handgun in a suite at the Bedford Hotel Thursday night, hours after two men and a female associate, all from Vancouver, were arrested following a jewelry heist.
Around 10:30 a.m. that day, police were called to Paul Mara Jewellers at 657 Fort St., where two men allegedly sprayed staff with bear spray, smashed glass cabinets and grabbed an unknown quantity of jewelry and other valuables.
Upon arrival, officers followed a trail of helpful bystanders who witnessed two 27-year-old suspects fleeing the jewelry store on foot.
“They told us exactly where they went, gave us good descriptions. It certainly played a key role in leading us to the hotel,” said Const. Mike Russell, Victoria police spokesperson. “There was people running after (the suspects).”
While some officers watched over the jewelry store, where paramedics treated staff who had been sprayed. Others tracked the suspects to the Bedford Regency Hotel at 1140 Government St., where they were registered guests.
Concerned about reports that the men were armed with a firearm, police closed off a section of Government Street around the hotel, between Trounce Alley and Fort Street, as well as a section of Yates Street.
“We had to make sure everyone was out of sight and out of range of a firearm,” Russell said.
Two police canine unit officers, their dogs and members of the Victoria police Emergency Response Team combed the hotel, floor by floor.
The suspects were eventually found hiding on the hotel’s rooftop, at 1:30 p.m.
The Victoria Fire Department was called in to bring the men down from the roof in the bucket of a ladder truck.
Police also apprehended a 21-year-old female inside the hotel. Russell said she did not take part in the robbery, but is an associate of the two men.
Michael Werner and Dominic Oyango, both from Vancouver, face charges of robbery with a weapon, and numerous counts of breach of probation.
Amanda Shier, also from Vancouver, faces charges of possession of property obtained by crime.
Police say the trio may face additional charges.