At least three people were treated by paramedics Wednesday after being pepper-sprayed during an afternoon robbery at a pawn shop in downtown Maple Ridge.
Witnesses reported seeing a man, believed to be a store employee, running with a sword after the suspects, who wore hoods and had their faces covered.
The robbery occurred around 2 p.m. at Common Exchange Pawnbroker, in the 22300-block of Lougheed Highway. Two men shot pepper spray at the store staff, smashed glass display cases, stole jewelry, then fled on foot.
An RCMP officer joined the store employee in a chase of one of the culprits, and he was apprehended.
The second suspect was seen getting into a dark-coloured car driven by a woman, and they drove away. A RCMP helicopter joined the pursuit. A short time later, police said a female was arrested in another Lower Mainland jurisdiction and police are linking her to the crime.
The second male suspect is still at large.
The two arrested were expected to make court appearances Thursday.
Prior to the robbery, RCMP responded to a call of shots fired at Garibaldi secondary, on Dewdney Trunk Road near 248th Street, but found nothing there.
RCMP Insp. Dan Splinter said the call may have been a diversion, and most of the 10 officers on duty responded to the call at the school. While they were there, calls about the downtown robbery came in.
Huong Thon was at the business with her seven-year-old son Kole when the robbery occurred.
She pushed him to the back of the store, and they hid in a washroom. She could smell the pepper spray, but its incapacitating effects did not reach the mother and son through the door. The first person to come in was an RCMP officer, with gun drawn. He got a towel and they wrapped her son in it, and got him safely outside.
• Anyone who has any information regarding this crime is asked to call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leave a tip online at www.solvecrime.ca. CrimeStoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.