Business owner sympathizes with desperation of armed robber


Panago Pizza owner Alan Prevost hopes the money was used wisely

Panago owner Alan Prevost has a message for a seemingly desperate armed robber who made off with less than $500 in cash from his pizzaria.

“My hope is that the money went to food or rent,” Prevost said days after the Jan. 30 holdup.

At about 10 minutes to midnight that Saturday night, a man entered the 50th Avenue shop where a 19-year-old woman and a middle-aged man worked in the back prepping for the next day’s business.

Hearing the tell-tale sign of the door opening, the younger staff member made her way from the back of the shop to the front when the bell rang.

“She meets the gentleman halfway through the store and was trying to figure out if another staff member was playing a joke,” said Prevost.

The man was wearing a skull and crossbones-decorated mask and brandished a machete-like knife.

The brief interaction that occurred thereafter would give police some further identifying factors of the suspect and Prevost his compassionate view of the situation.

“He said something like ‘I’m very stressed and it’s not easy out there,’” said Prevost.

The would-be robber had a slight European accent and made reference to being from Romania.

He is described as having a darker skin tone than Caucasian, six feet two inches tall to six feet three inches tall, medium to large build, light brown mustache, bushy light brown eyebrows and light brown hazel eyes.

Staff say the suspect slammed the knife down on a tabletop with a “great deal of force,” said Prevost.

The 19-year-old challenged him slightly but gave in to demands for money.

They went to the front counter and she began counting money from the till.

“He grabbed the cash drawer and emptied it into a bag…a duffle bag,” said Prevost.

The suspect fled out the back of the establishment and got into an older white Dodge K-car style vehicle.

Staff called Prevost and police. When Prevost arrived at Panago, he said the staff were relatively calm “but I think they were in shock.”

Neither suffered any physical injuries in the incident.

The female staff member left to give RCMP a statement while the older staff member stayed to finish out his shift.

It marked the first time the store had ever been robbed.

“There’s easier marks,” Prevost said, pointing to the store’s openness and large windows. “But these times, suffice to say, people are desperate.”

Police are investigating.


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Lea Smaldon

Lea Smaldon joined Mountain View Publishing as managing editor in 2006.