Mounties have arrested a man accused of ramming a stolen vehicle into a Saanich gas station in an attempted robbery, then robbing a separate gas station on the West Shore at knifepoint.
Police say the crime spree began March 11 at 9 p.m. when a Nanaimo woman reported that a man with a dog demanded she exit her white Subaru SUV, then stole it.
The next morning just before 4 a.m., Saanich police were called to a gas station in the 300-block of Burnside Road after an alarm went off at the business. Arriving officers discovered that the same white Subaru SUV was seen on video surveillance ramming the store’s front doors, with the suspect then trying, unsuccessfully, to gain access to the cash register.
Then just after 6 a.m., West Shore RCMP were called to a gas station in the 2000-block of West Shore Parkway in Langford after an employee said a man brandished an edged weapon while demanding cash, then fleeing in a white Subaru SUV.
About two hours later, Ladysmith RCMP responded to a report of a vehicle on fire on the Trans-Canada Highway — the same white Subaru SUV stolen out of Nanaimo and believed to have been used in the two gas station incidents.
“A witness reported seeing a man with a dog fleeing from the vehicle just before it went up in flames,” police said in a news release.
RCMP forensics officers and police dog services were deployed. Just after 10 a.m., a man seen walking with a dog along the highway who matched the suspect description was arrested by RCMP.
The man, a 26-year-old Nanaimo resident, is being held in custody and has been charged with mischief, break and enter, arson, possession of stolen property and two counts of robbery. He will remain in custody until his next court date on April 21, according to RCMP.
The Saanich gas station involved in the first robbery attempt sustained an estimated $10,000 in damage, according to RCMP.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt during the crime spree.