SURREY, B.C. - RCMP say eight people have been charged in connection with a violent armed robbery in the Vancouver area, which happened as police were conducting surveillance related to two earlier robberies in a nearby community.
The case involves what Mounties describe as "take-over-style" robberies in Surrey and Burnaby, in which suspects forcibly entered retail stores brandishing machetes and hammers and stole merchandise worth a combined total of $80,000.
A news release says two pawn shops in Surrey were hit in late May, prompting the Mounties to launch surveillance on what they believed was a suspect vehicle.
The news release says the surveillance team followed the vehicle to a Burnaby jewelry store on June 5, when officers witnessed a "sudden and unexpected heist."
During that operation, police say five people were arrested and three more suspects were later identified, including one who has yet to be arrested, 27-year-old Jeffery Greenwood of Surrey.
One of those eight people has also been charged in connection with the Surrey pawn shop robberies, and RCMP say more charges are expected in that case.
Police recovered the $30,000 worth of merchandise stolen in Burnaby, while they have yet to find $50,000 in stolen property from the Surrey pawn shops, including a rare Harley Davidson gold belt buckle.
The people charged in the Burnaby case include Greenwood; Jordan Boucher, 26; Kevin Campbell, 25, of Surrey; Raymond Hawse, 39, of Surrey; Phuong Thi Le, 21, of Surrey; Sonny Nguyen, 19, of Surrey; and Bobby Prasad, 37, of Surrey.
The Mounties say 20-year-old Anthony Nguyen of Surrey has been charged in all three robberies.