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Accused Salmo gas station robber runs out of gas

A man accused of robbing a Salmo-area gas station didn’t get very far because his tank was empty.

RCMP say officers from the Trail, Salmo, and Castlegar detachments teamed up to arrest the 35-year-old Castlegar man on April 21 after the Centex gas station in Erie was allegedly robbed.

Police say just after 9 p.m., a Salmo officer responded to the robbery where the man was accused of stealing small food items from the store while threatening to assault employees. Although he had apparently stopped to get gas, he left without filling up in a stolen vehicle, heading toward Trail.

“The RCMP has a policy to protect the public and ourselves that we don’t pursue when people flee [in vehicles],” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says.

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Officers from Trail spotted the vehicle a couple of times, but it took off again, back towards Salmo. However, on Highway 3B near Champion Lakes Road, the car ran out of gas.

Officers found the stranded man and arrested him without further incident. The man has spent the last five days in custody and was due to make his first court appearance by video today.

Police are recommending six charges to Crown counsel. In addition to robbery, fleeing from police, stealing a vehicle, and possession of stolen property connected to the incident, the man had an outstanding warrant for driving while prohibited. And while it was not an armed robbery, they say they found he had ammunition that he was not supposed to.

Wicentowich says the man is known to them, and had been going back and forth between Nelson, Castlegar, and Trail for a while.

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