Hazelbridge herbal store hit by bandits

A Chinese herbal store on Hazelbridge Way was targeted early Monday morning, and though police arrived in time to encounter the bandits, they managed to get away.

Richmond RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski said police responded to a silent alarm around 5 a.m. on Monday, and arrived within two minutes to find the perpetrators in the process of leaving.

But because of a strict police policy relating to property crime, no pursuit was initiated because of the potential hazard this would cause to the general public, he explained.

Late last month, Richmond Mounties announced they had nabbed four suspects they believe are responsible for a rash of business break-ins at herbal stores, as well as retailers of cellular phones and electronics.

The group could be responsible for dozens of break-ins since last summer, with herbal stores targeted for their pricey herbal goods, some of which are more valuable per ounce than gold. The group has since been released from custody.

Kowalski told The Richmond Review that frustrated business owners have released to the Chinese media video surveillance footage of the break-ins, which could cause legal headaches—relating to continuity of evidence—for investigators should the people responsible eventually be tracked down.

The targeted herbal store is in a strip mall, and appeared to have good security in the form roll-down gates.

But like the modus operandi of many previous break-ins, the bandits smashed the front window, and grabbed whatever was within reach.

Asked whether police could have simply followed the suspects at the speed limit and without their lights on, Kowalski explained that this would still have constituted a police pursuit, and might still result in the suspects feeling compelled to flee at high speed, and potentially getting into an accident that might cost someone their life.

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