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Four people arrested after dozens of high-end phones stolen from Lethbridge shop
Published Friday, June 8, 2018 12:03PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, June 8, 2018 4:44PM MDT
A Calgary man and three young offenders have been charged after a violent robbery that targeted a Bell World store in Lethbridge on Thursday.
Investigators say that at about 2:30 p.m., four males entered the store, in the 3700 block of Mayor Magrath Drive S., attacked the employees, a male and a female, and restrained them in headlocks.
The workers were then dragged to the back of the store and forced to open a safe containing dozens of in-box cell phones.
The suspects loaded the items into a waiting vehicle and fled the scene.
Officers that responded to the incident located the suspect vehicle on Highway 519 east of Granum.
The vehicle failed to stop for police and RCMP were forced to deploy a spike belt to disable it.
The subjects were arrested and a search of the vehicle discovered 73 brand new cell phones.
Ruach Bang, 20, is charged with robbery, flight from police and two counts each of breach of a recognizance stemming from similar robberies in Calgary.
A 16-year-old male, of Calgary, who cannot be named, is charged with robbery, disguised with intent and two counts of breach of a recognizance stemming from similar robberies in Calgary.
A 16-year-old male, of Calgary, who cannot be named, is charged with robbery.
A 17-year-old male, of Calgary, who cannot be named, is charged with robbery.
Inspector John Ascroft, with the Lethbridge Police Service, says that the type of violence exhibited in the incident is rare to see in the city.
"The violence consisted of the employees being put into headlocks and being forced in the back room. It would be a terrifying set of circumstances."
He says that all of the phones retail at about $25,000 and they probably would have ended up being shipped out of the country.
The two employees of the Bell store suffered non-life threatening injuries and were treated by EMS at the scene.
Ascroft says the workers suffered just minor injuries but also went through emotional distress too.
"You can imagine how terrifying that would be to have people basically come into the store, assault you like that. I would suspect you would wonder what's going to happen to you."
Police are looking into a possible connection to another robbery that took place five months ago that targeted an electronics store in Park Place Mall.
In that incident, on January 8, four males entered the iWorld store and started to grab multiple iPhones before fleeing the store.
Two male employees pursued them, but one of the suspects sprayed one of them in the face with bear spray.
Police were not able to locate the suspects at that time.
Ascroft was not able to confirm if those two incidents are connected, but said that he wouldn't be surprised if they were.
He says that the incidents drive home the message that a smaller community like Lethbridge isn't immune to these types of crimes.
"The same types of things that happen in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto can and do happen in Lethbridge."
The investigation is ongoing.