A two-hour police standoff and supposed armed hold-up of a West Vancouver bank turned out to be nothing more than a big misunderstanding.
West Vancouver police descended on Park Royal around 3: 30 p.m. Sunday after a witness called 9-1-1 to report seeing a man carrying a bag with a gun it. Officers on the scene found the man in a bank in Park Royal south and evacuated the bank and surrounding stores.
But after calling in North Vancouver RCMP's dog section and Vancouver Police Department's emergency response team, and two hours of negotiation, the "suspect" was taken into custody without incident.
"We subsequently confirmed the person had no weapon, did not attempt to simulate a weapon and although he was having some conversation with the bank staff, . . . he wasn't in a conversation that involved a robbery," said Const. Jeff Palmer, West Vancouver police spokesman. "It definitely appears to be the result of an honest misperception."
The situation is reminiscent of a 2009 police lockdown of Rockridge secondary after a neighbour reported seeing someone carrying a gun into the school that later turned out to be a camera tripod.
"We don't want people seeing something they think looks like (a firearm) and not calling us. Yes this was a lot of work to confirm that this person never had a weapon and never made any threatening nor otherwise remarks to the bank staff," Palmer said. "But we'd rather do that work than have somebody say, 'I thought I saw someone with something,' but didn't call."
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