Williams Lake grandfather stops bank robbery in progress

Stopping a bank robbery was “the right thing to do.”

Bill Drebit has always wondered what he would do in an emergency.

Now he knows.

Drebit wrestled a suspected bank robber to the ground as he was attempting to rob the CIBC in Williams Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at around 4:19 p.m.

The robbery was the second at the bank in as many weeks.

“I grabbed him and kind of led him to the floor and another man was good enough to come and grab hold of him too and we just held him on the floor until the police arrived,” Drebit said Thursday, noting he doesn’t know the name of the other gentleman who helped but learned he was from Anahim Lake. “It’s a good thing he was there because I probably wouldn’t have been able to hold him by myself.”

Drebit said he was just finishing up his transaction with a teller, when the suspect, who had disguised his face with a scarf, budged through and told the teller to hand over all her money.

“He had just robbed the teller next to her,” he said.

When asked if he acted on instinct by confronting the robber, Drebit chuckled and said he did not really know.

“It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It’s really not a big deal.”

Officer in Charge of the Williams Lake RCMP, Insp. Jeff Pelley, said due to the immediate assistance of the two “astute” customers and a timely response by the RCMP, the man was arrested and taken into custody without incident and that none of the CIBC employees were harmed.

Read more: Police rush to second Williams Lake bank robbery in as many weeks

On Wednesday, one charge of robbery and another of wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence were sworn against Christopher Michael Swain of 100 Mile House, in Williams Lake.

Swain will remain in custody until his next court appearance scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Williams Lake Provincial Court.

For Drebit, Tuesday’s robbery attempt was the first time he had ever witnessed a crime.

He said it was terrible to see someone trying to rob the CIBC again.

Drebit was referring to the armed robbery that took place there on Nov. 17 when a man wearing a bright red wig and sunglasses entered the bank, indicated he had a gun, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Read more: Williams Lake RCMP searching for armed robbery suspect

Drebit is a millwright and has worked at Tolko’s Soda Creek Sawmill for 47 years.

He has been married for 46 years to his wife, Lorna, and together they have four children.

Their daughter Nancy Hadden lives in Williams Lake and told the Tribune when she learned her dad had helped stop the robbery she was really surprised, and also proud.

“He phoned me and told me ‘I just stopped a bank robbery’, and I thought in my head, ‘you mean you were in the bank and it got robbed,’” Hadden said.

“When I realized what he meant, I didn’t really know what to say. Then I told him, ‘well mom’s got something to put in the Christmas newsletter now.’”

Read more: Charges laid against CIBC bank robbery suspect

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cloverdale automobile shop offers to pick up, service, and drop off vehicles

Surrey’s Visscher-Pau Automotive starts ‘Blue Glove’ valet service — will cover Cloverdale, Langley, Newton, Fleetwood, and Hazelmere

White Rock brewery turns up the (alcohol by) volume in COVID-19 fight

3 Dogs Brewing is making hand sanitizer for frontline workers, general public

Surrey RCMP looking for ‘distraction theft’ suspect

Suspect allegedly tried to swipe a man’s necklace while giving him a hug

1,000 food hampers packed for delivery to students of Surrey’s inner-city schools

City Dream Centre-led initiative involved volunteer effort at Horizon Church in Newton

Surrey councillor wants property taxes deferred to December

Linda Annis is expected to present notice of motion to that effect at April 6 “virtual” council meeting

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

Most Read