POLICE are on the hunt for a 60-yearold man they say held up eight large stores at gunpoint this year, including four on the North Shore.
The suspect appears to have targeted large businesses, primarily grocery stores, in North and West Vancouver, Vancouver and Burnaby over an eight-month period ending Dec. 1. Vancouver police put out a plea for information Thursday.
The man's spree reportedly started March 31 when he walked into West Vancouver's Safeway on Marine Drive at about 7: 30 p.m., pulled a gun and demanded money. Frightened staff handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the man fled. Police searched the neighbourhood with a dog unit but were unable to track him down.
The man popped up again two weeks later when he allegedly robbed a Super
Valu on Connaught Crescent in North Vancouver using the same M.O. Police say he then held up the smaller Queensdale Market on Lonsdale Avenue May 6 before heading over to Vancouver and robbing an Extra Foods on Kerr Street May 12.
The suspect then appears to have dropped off the radar until the fall, according to investigators, when he robbed an IGA Marketplace in Vancouver Oct. 11. This, they say, was followed by a Choices Market in Burnaby Oct. 26 and another Choices Market in Vancouver Nov. 17. This month, the man appears to have returned to North Vancouver, allegedly holding up the Toys-R-Us on Brooksbank Avenue Dec. 1. The man used a gun in all cases, according to police, and tends to strike in the early evening.
"We are concerned for the safety of the public," said Vancouver Detective Constable Joe Danieli in a release.
Investigators circulated security camera images of the suspect at a press conference Thursday morning. The man is Caucasian, approximately 60 years old, five feet 10 inches tall with a heavy build and short grey hair. He wore a baseball hat and dark glasses during the robberies, according to police, and has been seen driving a black Ford Explorer with black wheels.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Vancouver Police general investigative unit at 604-717-3200.