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Robbery at Metrotown

Today is our 10-year wedding anniversary (time flies, we were still so young during our wedding…) so I decided to take the day off and spend time with my wife. She wanted to do some shopping after bringing the kids to school, so we drove to the Metrotown mall in Burnaby, mainly because we had never been there.

We walked around inside the mall for a few minutes when we heard a loud scream behind us. My initial reaction was to ignore it, but the screaming continued. I turned around and saw an older Chinese woman laying on the ground outside the BMO bank. She seemed to be in shock and could only scream, but I noticed she was pointing in my direction.

I looked around and at that moment a big well dressed black guy with a panama hat walked by me. He carried a woman’s hand bag and walked a bit faster than normal.  I looked at him and then noticed he was the only one not paying attention to the screams. At that same moment he suddenly started running away from me, and I realized that he must have just robbed the woman and pushed her onto the ground.

I didn’t hesitate and immediately ran after him. He was quite fast but I am a decent runner so he did not manage to run far away from me. Within moments several other people followed me as well (Grace later told me about 20 people were running behind me and the thief). I shouted “stop the thief, stop the thief” and that scared the black guy, and he threw away the bag.

He probably hoped that I would stop running after him, but he was wrong. I knew that I would eventually catch up with him, these guys are generally fast at first but because I am a long distance runner I can run at a high speed much longer than they can. So I kept following him.

Problem was, the other people were not as fast as we were, so it was just me and him and some other people at least 20 meters behind us. He ran into Sears, which was virtually empty, so I screamed to the staff to stop the guy. But because he looked like a decent guy people did not immediately realize he was the criminal and let him pass.

He went around a corner, but when I rounded the corner he was suddenly gone. I first thought he may be hiding behind some racks, but then a shop assistant told me that a black guy just ran out the emergency exit. The emergency door had a sign saying that an alarm would go off if you opened it, but that was not the case so he managed to get away.

There was no point in going after him anymore, because I had no idea where he had run to, but at least the Chinese lady got her bag back. Grace was happy that I was not hurt, she had seen me running after the guy and saw from a distance that I was the only one close to him. She was quite worried that he would have a knife and stab me if I would have come too close, so seeing me safe made her quite relieved.

We were not in the mood for shopping anymore after that and left the building about 10 minutes later. By that time police cars had surrounded the mall, but I doubt that they were able to catch the guy. He was probably the only black guy in the mall, so he would have been an easy catch, but he was likely already off the premises before the police even got the call. It’s a pity, but it was a good reminder to be careful, even in shopping malls.

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  1. Courageous action, but think about it for a second, Marc, you have two young kids. Do you really want to be doing stuff like this? There might (touch wood) just as well have been a message from your wife here informing your readers you were in critical condition in hospital after being stabbed trying to stop a robber.

    I salute your courage, but think about it.

  2. Yes, you are right of course and I thought about that as well (but only after it was over). The thing is that in such a moment my instinct takes over and I don’t really consider the risks. I saw the screaming lady on the ground and I saw the guy getting away, at that moment I felt I had to do something. You can’t let a robber get away with this and so I started running after him. Smart? Not really, but luckily the lady got her bag back and I did not get hurt. If I would have seen a knife I think I would have stopped chasing him though. And luckily there are not as many guns in Canada as in the US!

  3. you are the man !
    maybe when he dropped the bag you could have just took out your mobile phone and took a picture of him and give it to the police
    you are a hero and also set an example to all those around you !good job ! 🙂