RCMP are searching for a suspect after the Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Salmo was robbed at gunpoint yesterday.
Police say at about 4:50 p.m. a man entered the branch with a gun. He ran off with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was physically hurt.
Salmo, Nelson, and Trail RCMP responded but have not yet located a suspect.
However, he’s described as white, 5’6″, 150 lbs., and was wearing black pants, a new-looking purple ski jacket, black mask, and a hood pulled down over his face.
A forensic identification unit attended the scene and recovered some evidence.
Kootenay Savings risk manager and security officer Dean Civatrese said there are standard procedures for dealing with robberies, and all staff go through annual training.
Although he wouldn’t go into detail about what is discussed in those sessions, he said employees in this case did everything they were supposed to.
Counsellors were brought in this morning to do a debriefing with staff and the branch was closed until about noon.
“I’m sure it was upsetting,” Civatrese said of the incident, which unfolded quickly. “We have programs in place if further counselling is required.”
He added that such incidents are uncommon in the Kootenays, but they still need to be prepared. As the incident happened near the close of business, no one other than employees was in the branch at the time.
RCMP Cpl. Debbie Postnikoff told the Star they are asking for the public’s help.
“We’re very concerned and looking for any information that might lead to the suspect,” she said. For instance, she said they would like to know if any vehicles were lingering in the area — currently police do not have one associated with the crime.
Postnikoff said they don’t know if there is any connection between this robbery and one at a Castlegar pharmacy in November.
“It’s obviously going to be something the investigators will look into,” she said. Although police issued a sketch of the suspect in that case and received some tips, no arrests have been made.
A series of overnight break-ins in January in Castlegar, Nelson, Salmo, South Slocan, and Taghum also remain unsolved.
Tips can be phoned in to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the Salmo RCMP detachment at 250-357-2212.