Since the beginning of October, there have been 10 armed robberies in Saskatoon. In eight of those cases, witnesses reported seeing a gun or what appeared to be a gun.
Out of 19 potential suspects, police have only been able to arrest one person.
Kelsie Fraser with the Saskatoon Police Service said it’s believed some of the robberies are connected, but police can’t confirm those possible connections until charges are laid.
“We can’t say for sure but it would be fair to say that narcotics are a motivator.”
Criminals targeting convenience stores, pharmacies
On Oct. 3, police say two men with hand guns held up a restaurant in the 2400 block of 22nd Street West. The following week, two men smashed a 7-Eleven store window with a machete in the 3300 block of 33rd Street West, on the edge of the Confederation Park neighbourhood.
Three days later, on Oct. 16, a man robbed a pharmacy in the 3200 block of Preston Avenue South in the Stonebridge neighbourhood. Witnesses reported he was carrying a sawed-off rifle and demanded narcotics.
On Oct. 24, three people wearing masks used a hammer to rob a business in the 3700 block of Diefenbaker Drive, in a strip mall with a Mac`s Convenience Store. Then on Oct. 27, two men with what appeared to be guns were involved in another robbery in the 3300 block of 33rd Street West. Officers were able to arrest a 20-year-old woman who was found in a vehicle after a brief chase.
Police then reported one armed robbery a day for four days straight, starting on Oct. 29 when three men with a gun entered a Shoppers Drug Mart on Herold Court in the Lakewood Suburban Centre near Rosewood. They escaped in two stolen vehicles that were later found just a short distance away.
The next day, police said a man approached a woman in a parking lot in the 1000 block of Taylor Street East near Clarence Avenue with what appeared to be a gun. She told police she was able to get into her car and drive away before anything happened.
One man with a gun robbed a business in the 500 block of Cope Way in Stonebridge on Halloween night.
Witnesses then reported an armed robbery at a Shoppers Drug Mart in the 600 block of Taylor Street East, near the intersection with Broadway Avenue, on Nov. 1. In that case, a man stated he had a weapon but it wasn’t shown.
On Nov. 3, two men with guns held up a Subway store in the 1200 block of Idylwyld Drive North.
Out of the 10 armed robberies over the past month, half of them occurred on the city’s east side. Fraser said it’s not necessarily an indication of crime spreading to the suburbs of Saskatoon.
“Crime can happen anywhere so I can’t really comment on if this speaks to the spreading. It’s never relegated to one place; it’s certainly possible everywhere unfortunately,” Fraser said.
Despite the recent spike in armed robberies over a short time period, Fraser said the amount of robberies year-to-date is actually less this year compared to last year.
No one was hurt and no shots were fired in the cases where guns were involved. But Fraser said the public should still be aware of their surroundings and provide as much information as they can to police.
“It is very alarming and very concerning to police. We do ask that people be vigilant,“ Fraser said. “We’d like to make these arrests and lay the charges to make sure that these things don’t happen again in the future.”