Robbers hit two banks, grocery

A rash of robberies kept police in the Cowichan Valley busy on Wednesday afternoon.

Update: James Miller, 56, has been remanded in custody for the robbery of the 49th Parallel Grocery Store in Chemainus. He will stand before a judge in the provincial court in Duncan again on March 22.

A rash of robberies kept police in the Cowichan Valley busy on Wednesday afternoon.

The Island Savings Credit Union branch at the Cowichan Commons mall, the 49th Parallel grocery store in Chemainus and the Royal Bank in Ladysmith were all hit within a few hours, although police are unsure if the incidents are related.

A lone man robbed the Cowichan Commons Island Savings around 4:10 p.m. None of the employees or customers were harmed. A short time later, the Royal Bank on First Street in Ladysmith was robbed.

Both the North Cowichan/Duncan and Ladysmith detachments are investigating.

“It is unknown at this time if the two robberies are linked as the investigation is still very fluid,” Cpl. Krista Hobday of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP said on Thursday morning.

“The Forensic Identification Unit and the Police Dog Service have contributed their expertise to the investigation. The investigating officers currently have several leads.

“The two detachments and resources from the Island District General Investigation Section out of Victoria are liaising with each other. Every effort will be made to identify those responsible for these two robberies.”

A few hours later, at 8:24 p.m., the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to another robbery at the 49th Parallel store on Oak Street in Chemainus. A 55-year-old Chemainus man is in custody and charges are pending.

Anyone with information about the robberies should contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522, the Ladysmith RCMP at 250-245-2215, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Anyone who witnessed the robberies and would like to talk about their experiences should contact Cowichan Valley Regional RCMP Victim Services or Ladysmith RCMP Victim Services through their local detachments.