Robbery suspect tries swim escape

Quick action by a store owner and other residents helped police nab a suspect following a robbery in Youbou last Saturday.

Around 3 p.m. on April 5, a man wearing a hoodie with a mask over his face entered the Youbou Shop and Save convenience store, threatened the store owner with a chisel and demanded money from the cash register. After pushing the store owner out of the way, he grabbed the drawer from the cash register and fled on foot.

The store owner’s husband had witnessed the robbery and chased after the suspect as he ran. The suspect first tried to hide in a yard, but when he was discovered, he jumped into Cowichan Lake and tried to swim out to a nearby log boom. He surrendered without incident when Lake Cowichan RCMP arrived.

When arrested, the suspect was found with an undisclosed amount of cash from the store. He had thrown the weapon into the lake, but it was later recovered by the RCMP dive team.

Lead investigator Const. Grant Desmet gave credit for the arrest to the store owner and other residents, while Lake Cowichan Detachment Commander Sgt. Wes Olsen commended the individuals for not trying to confront the suspect directly.

Twenty-year-old Travis Katzel of Duncan has been charged with robbery, disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence, and mischief under $5,000. Police are also recommending a charge of assault and failure to comply with a condition of undertaking. Katzel appeared in Duncan court on Monday and was remanded into custody.