Things were anything but convenient for a pair of employees at Frank’s General Store on Highway 6 in Cherryville Saturday, March 5, at around 2:15 p.m. A man walked into the store and took a couple of hundred dollars worth of product without paying. Then things got ugly. The suspect is still at large. (Morning Star - file photo)

Things were anything but convenient for a pair of employees at Frank’s General Store on Highway 6 in Cherryville Saturday, March 5, at around 2:15 p.m. A man walked into the store and took a couple of hundred dollars worth of product without paying. Then things got ugly. The suspect is still at large. (Morning Star - file photo)

Theft turns violent outside rural Okanagan store

Workers at Frank’s General Store in Cherryville confront male suspect who allegedly walked out of store without paying

Never, in her seven years as a dedicated employee at Frank’s General Store in Cherryville, has manager Tiffany Symes been involved in anything violent at the facility.

Maybe a couple of verbal exchanges. No shoplifting that she can recall. Certainly no fisticuffs or anything along that line.

All that changed Saturday, March 5, at about 2:15 p.m.

Symes and co-worker Corrie Crosby were inside the store when a man wearing a hardhat walked in. The unmasked individual allegedly grabbed a metal handheld basket and proceeded to stuff a couple of hundred dollars worth of product into the basket, including a hatchet.

When he walked out of the store without paying, Symes sprang into action.

“I went out to confront him,” she said. “My co-worker joined me, as did a neighbour of the store, an elderly gentlemen, and we confronted him at his vehicle. That’s when he got extremely violent.”

Symes ended up having her hair pulled, suffered several bruises and her sweatshirt was ripped as the man began swinging his arms.

Crosby received a punch in the head. She responded by taking off the hardhat and cracking the man over the head, resulting in a fair-sized gash and blood.

The elderly gentleman fell and suffered a contusion to his head.

The suspect sped off down neighbouring Sugar Lake Road.

“We were a little traumatized,” said Symes, back at work Sunday. Both she and Crosby stayed to finish their shifts Saturday so the store was never closed. All employees are getting things ready for a new restaurant/café that will join the general store prior to the summer, possibly by May or June.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my time here,” she said. “I’m also a tougher broad than I thought.”

The getaway vehicle has been described as a red Jeep Cherokee with a taped right rear window and a front missing licence plate, which Symes said she ripped off during the mélee.

The suspect is described as male, bald, medium height (approximately 5-foot-9) and was wearing brown pants and a beige shirt. He also suffered a cut to his head.

Anybody with any information is asked to call the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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