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Bear spray assault hits Semiahmoo Centre

Two hurt in attempted Save On Foods robbery
Police vehicles outside Save-On-Foods’ Semiahmoo Centre store on Jan. 25. A bear spray attack on store managers is very concerning, Surrey White Rock MLA Trevor Halford says. Contributed photo

Surrey RCMP are still seeking the suspect in a Jan. 25 bear-spray incident at Save-On-Foods at Semiahmoo Centre.

Surrey media relations officer Const. Sarbjit Sangha said the assault occurred on Thursday when a man attempting to leave with a loaded cart – without paying for the groceries – was challenged by store managers.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford told Peace Arch News he witnessed the incident, which took place at around 9:20 a.m. at the store, and which sent one of the managers temporarily to hospital for treatment and observation.

“I was getting a coffee at the stand there and noticed a bit of a commotion,” Halford said.

He saw the store’s manager and assistant manager approach the man, he added.

“They said `what are you doing?’ and he just turned around and pulled out the (bear spray) and sprayed them both in the face.”

Halford said he saw the man – who appeared to be in his mid 30s and “well put together” – walking away from the store.

“I thought, I’m not letting this guy get away,” he said. “I chased after him.”

He followed the man walking west on 16 Avenue, then turning north on Martin Street, he said, before seeing him walk in to the parking lot in front of Shoppers Drug Mart and get into a parked car.

Without approaching the suspect, Halford said, he noted the car license plate before the man drove away, and passed it on to the police officers who responded to the incident.

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“Police conducted patrols in the immediate area to locate the suspect, however he was not located,” Sangha said. “Police investigation is ongoing to identify the suspect.”

“I hope this person is brought to justice and feels the full wrath of the law,” Halford said.

“It’s very concerning. This is two innocent people who were assaulted – it’s completely unacceptable, and I’m going to continue speaking up whenever something like this happens,” he added.

“Our community is experiencing a growing amount of crime. It’s including everything from shoplifting and drug use to vandalism. Until we address the root causes of it, it won’t go away – we’re going to see it increase.”

About the Author: Alex Browne

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