Tomley’s Market, a popular spot in North Oak Bay, was the sight of a violent armed robbery Halloween night.
“It’s quite concerning for us. It’s not something we normally see here in Oak Bay,” says Chief Ray Bernoties of the Oak Bay Police Department.
The front door of the family-run business is now taped up after getting smashed during a violent struggle with an armed robber that saw the owner threatened with a knife and stabbed at.
“It’s just kind of crazy because he had a knife and slashed the guy who worked there,” says Tina Taylor, who owns Buttons ‘n Bows in the same strip mall.
The store owner is still very shaken and didn’t want to do an on-camera interview but he told CHEK News that the suspect grabbed a chocolate milk and then put a garbage bag on the counter, brandished a knife, and told him to fill the bag with money.
“The store owner fled the store, the robber took the money and tried to get out of the store but the store owner tried to hold it closed and a scuffle ensued,” Chief Bernoties says.
The robber kicked the door out but the owner — who was punched and had his finger cut — was able to hold the 43-year-old man down until police arrived.
It’s part of a disturbing spike in crime in the area.
Dean Heights Beauty Salon was the first to get robbed three weeks ago. It happened at 10 o’clock on a Monday morning.
“You feel pretty violated,” says Dean Heights Beauty Salon owner Meredith Wainwright. “It’s a feeling you can’t really describe — everything is just taken from you.”
Just this morning, Tina Taylor arrived at work to find that the front door of her sewing store had been smashed and all the cash from the register stolen.
“I went to unlock the door but it was already unlocked,” Taylor explains. “A big hole smashed in it, everything all over the place — it’s crazy!”
Police are now stepping up patrols and plan to have undercover officers in the area.
The Tomley’s suspect — who has a history of violence, robbery and being armed — was released on conditions and is facing several charges.