Fears eased slightly as alleged robbers caught

Charged with one count each of robbery are Andrew Stevenson and Krista Kalmikoff.

“Hopefully that’s it.”

Those words of cautious optimism were said by Dean Civitarese, director of risk management for all 13 branches of Kootenay Savings Credit Union (KSCU) in response to the apprehension and arrest of two alleged suspects following an armed bank robbery in Nelson Friday afternoon.

Two local credit union branches, one in Salmo, the other in Castlegar, were also hit earlier this year by an armed robber who escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

“Stress levels I am sure are down a bit,” he said. “What will make people feel a lot more comfortable, I imagine, is confirmation whether we are talking about the same people.

“That’s what everyone is waiting to hear.”

Charged with one count each of robbery are Andrew Stevenson and Krista Kalmikoff, the two suspects in Friday’s armed robbery of the Nelson and District Credit Union.

According to the Nelson Star, Stevenson, 33, was not in court for Monday’s court proceeding, due to the injuries he suffered while

trying to escape custody. Kalmikoff, born in 1988, was in court and will remain in custody until the duo’s next scheduled appearance which is set for Wednesday at the Nelson Law Courts.

The Nelson Police Department (NPD) released some of the details surrounding the arrest of Stevenson who is allegedly responsible for Friday’s armed robbery at the Nelson and District Credit Union.

Officers pursued and located the male suspect on a bridge in the Bonnington Dam area. The man did not comply with officers’ commands to stop and he subsequently jumped over the bridge landing approximately 30- to 40-feet below. He sustained significant injuries and after he was taken into custody, he was sent to hospital for treatment.

Due to the injuries sustained to the male suspect, the Independent Investigations Office of BC (a civilian-led organization that investigates police-related incidents that involve death or serious injury) was notified of the incident, and have asserted jurisdiction in the matter and will be investigating whether police actions contributed to the man’s injuries.

The RCMP Forensic Identification Unit was also on scene to assist with the follow up investigation and the NPD remain responsible for all concurrent investigations into the actions of the suspect.

Friday’s armed robbery followed a string of armed robberies in the region that began last fall when a lone male brandished a shotgun at the Shopper’s Simply Pharmacy in Castlegar on Nov. 13 and escaped with cash and a large amount of prescription medications.

Since February 24, when a lone man with a gun held up the KSCU Salmo branch, three other armed robberies in the area include: the Kootenay Currency Exchange in Nelson April 11 when a shot was fired, Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Castlegar on March 11, and Johnny’s Groceries and Gas in Robson on March 7.

“We don’t know if they are related,” said Civitarese. “But the fact that someone has been apprehended will not prevent us from going forward and tweaking anything we have to in our protocols.”

– with files from the Nelson Star

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