COQUITLAM — He targeted a number of businesses in the Austin Heights area at the end of summer, and now a serial robber may be back at work in the same neigbourhood.
Coquitlam Mounties are working to determine if a pair of weekend robberies is tied to the same suspect in the previous incidents.
Police were called to the first weekend robbery on Saturday at 8 p.m., after a man wearing a mask and carrying a gun walked into a convenience store in the 1000 block of Austin Avenue.
The suspect demanded cash and then took off.
He was described as being six-feet tall with a slender build, wearing a black balaclava, gloves and jacket and blue jeans.
A thief struck again the next night at 10 p.m. at a coffee shop in the 100 block of Schoolhouse Street near Lougheed Highway.
He also had a gun and demanded money from the clerk before fleeing the store.
The suspect in this robbery is described as five-feet 11-inches tall, wearing a black balaclava and gloves and white hoodie.
No one was injured in the two robberies.
RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung wouldn’t confirm if the two crimes were linked to the rash of business robberies in the Austin Heights area at the end of summer.
“The similarities in the description are definitely striking,” he told The NOW.
The first of a string of robberies began at the start of August. The thief originally targeted a coffee shop, store and pharmacy in the first wave.
In one case, the man may have brandished a gun. A week later, a suspect targeted four other businesses.
In all, police believe the same suspect is responsible for a total of nine robberies, linking the suspects based on appearance. The thief wore a hoodie, balaclava and gloves in the middle of summer.
A Subway restaurant on Clarke Road near Como Lake Avenue, which was outside of the thief’s targeted area, was also robbed in late September.
The suspect in that case had a gun, and police at the time were looking into links between all the robberies.
Chung said catching the suspect involved in any of the robberies remains a top priority for the detachment.
Police are especially concerned someone might eventually get hurt during a holdup.
Chung said employees shouldn’t confront the suspect, but rather listen and obey any commands.
“Money can be replaced, but a person’s life cannot be replaced,” he said.
Mounties are also asking the public to call police if they see someone wearing a mask running down the street.