For the second time this year staff of the Eckville Hotel bar were held at gunpoint in an armed robbery Sunday morning around 1 a.m.
Owner Bill Zaleski, said he had just gotten home from the bar that evening when he got the call. The bar had been held up by a pair of male suspects described as 6’ tall and 180-200lbs. One suspect wore a Guy Fawkes mask, while the other sported a black bandana and hat to cover his face.
Sylvan Lake RCMP stated the two men entered the building, one suspect fired one round into the roof of the establishment while the second suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash. Zaleski confirmed the suspects fired what appeared to be a shotgun into the ceiling of the establishment, with both suspects being armed.
For Zaleski, the scariest part of the incident was the fact firearms were involved. He is thankful all staff and family were unharmed during the incident.
“They were in for under two minutes – actually in the building,” he said. “It was a very quick grab what they could kind of thing.”
This incident marks the second of the year following an incident on Sunday, February 22 at 4:35 pm. Sylvan Lake RCMP responded to an armed Robbery at the Eckville Hotel Bar. The two suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. Numerous occupants of the bar at the time were held at gun point while the suspects robbed the business. No one was injured during the February incident and no shots were fired.
The suspects of February’s incident were described as approximately 25-35 year old male, medium build, 5’9”-6’0’ tall, and was wearing a black balaclava to hide his face. The second suspect was female, approximately 5’6”-5’7” with brown hair parted in the middle.
On March 6, 2015 Sylvan Lake RCMP with the assistance of Red Deer ALERT arrested and charged Krista Marie Rix, 31.
Forhan’s Pharmacy was also hit by thieves this year. On May 6, RCMP found the store had been broken into with an undisclosed amount of medication being stolen.
Sylvan Lake RCMP again found themselves with a fire arms incident on their hands following a shooting on Sept. 2 in which two males were treated for serious injuries after being allegedly shot by, Andrew Snow, 29, who was later involved with another firearms incident outside of Sylvan Lake. Snow was later apprehended by Red Deer RCMP.
“The economy and the drug situation – people need money to get their drugs, that seems to be increasing from what I hear and the crime is a combination of both,” added Zaleski in regards to the recent rash of crime facing Eckville.
Corporal Kevin Halwa, watch supervisor, Sylvan Lake RCMP advised there is no immediate concern or danger to the public.
“The usual provisions always apply – lock your doors and windows, lock up your valuables,” said Halwa. “Unfortunately with the downturn in the economy I think we are going to be seeing more thefts and this sort of thing, the longer it [the downturn] drags out.”