Vancouver Police arrested three people Monday night after a suspect flashed a gun while attempting to steal ice cream from a Robson Street grocery store.

“This level of violence associated with petty crimes is shocking and unacceptable,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “It’s hard to understate the impact this kind of crime has on small business owners and their staff.”

The crime occurred around 9 p.m. Monday night, after a 40-year-old man tried to steal three tubs of ice cream worth just $21. When grocery store staff tried to stop the thief, two accomplices approached and flashed a gun, allowing the thief to run away.

“Several people called 9-1-1 to report the violent crime, which allowed VPD officers to quickly respond and apprehend the suspects as they were trying to leave the area,” adds Sergeant Addison.

The ice-cream thief and his alleged accomplices – a 27-year-old man and a 31-year old woman – were each arrested for robbery and taken to jail.

Between January 1 and October 15, VPD investigated 752 violent shoplifting cases throughout the city, a 550 per cent increase from 2019.

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