The Abbotsford Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre was the third and latest target in a string of business robberies last week after masked suspects hit the hotel on Thursday night.
Abbotsford police issued a warning to businesses and merchants to be wary after prior robberies occurred last Saturday and then again Wednesday night.
Investigators believe the robberies are likely the work of the same group of men, said Const. Ian MacDonald.
The robberies tend to involve at least two masked suspects, one wielding a weapon, who target locations that have limited staff and no customers around when they are hit.
In the latest incident, two men with masks entered the hotel in the 36000 block of North Parallel Road Thursday night at 11: 45 p.m., said MacDonald.
One suspect brandishing a knife approached the female clerk and demanded cash while the other stood watch.
The pair then fled, leaving the hotel employee unharmed.
"We're pretty certain it's the same suspects," said MacDonald.
"Three robberies in six days are very concerning. It's always our fear with robberies that they will become a spree, and we want to get the information out to alert businesses and the public."
The heists appear to better organized than is usually the case with business robberies, said MacDonald.
The suspects seem to be scoping out locations before they target them, he said.
Usually robberies tend to be one desperate individual who runs in and out as quickly as possible. Having two or more suspects hit a business heightens the fear for employees, MacDonald noted.
"They may be feeling trapped with someone at front door, and with a number of masked assailants you can imagine what goes through their mind."
In the first incident on Dec. 1 at 2: 30 p.m., two men in hood-ies with their faces covered waited until all the customers departed from a pharmacy in the 2000 block of McCallum Road before entering.
One suspect demanded drugs and cash from the cashier while the other stood just inside the front door keeping a lookout.
No weapons were used and no staff was injured before the robbers fled south on McCallum Road.
On Wednesday at 10 p.m., three men with dark clothing and covered faces entered an empty pizza shop in the 33300 block of South Fraser Way.
Two of the suspects, one brandishing what appeared to be a handgun, demanded cash from the employee while a third man was posted by the door. The employee wasn't hurt in the incident. Police are advising business owners to take extra care with their security given the recent robberies.
? Anyone with information about these robberies should contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
First reported @ abbotsfordtimes.com