Salmon Arm man charged in Edmonton bank robberies and explosions

By Global News
March 12, 2019 - 4:51pm

EDMONTON — Edmonton police have arrested and charged a 38-year-old British Columbia man in connection to a pair of violent robberies last year, and officers said they believe the accused was planning another attack.

On Dec. 13, two armoured vehicle guards were injured during an explosion and robbery at a Scotiabank branch in the area of 160 Avenue and 81 Street.

Police said the guards entered the lobby of the bank when an explosion occurred.

“When they walked inside the vestibule of the bank, some sort of improvised explosion went off, injuring them, rendering them in shock,” Edmonton police spokesperson Scott Pattison said at the time.

An armed, disguised suspect then stole cash from the guards before leaving the area on foot, police said. The amount of money taken was never made public.

The guards, a man and a woman employed by GardaWorld, were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

On Sept. 19, an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated at the Royal Bank near 28 Avenue SW and 141 Street SW, in Edmonton’s Heritage Valley area.

Police said security guards had just arrived at the bank to perform their regular duties when they heard a loud bang inside the entry way to the building. Police said the explosion disoriented the guards, but they were not injured.

No money was taken in this incident.

Police said members of the EPS tactical team arrested Justin Byron, of Salmon Arm, B.C., at the Edmonton International Airport on Monday, March 4.

Byron is facing multiple charges, including four counts of aggravated assault, two counts of robbery with a firearm, two counts of attempted robbery, four counts of using an explosive device, two counts of possession of an explosive material and two counts of disguise with intent.

“This arrest came about as a result of some excellent police work from the EPS Robbery Section and many areas within our police service,” said Staff Sgt. Rob Mills, of the EPS Robbery Section.

“We’re grateful to our RCMP law enforcement partners in Salmon Arm, B.C. who also played a key role in bringing our investigation to a successful conclusion.

“We believe the accused was planning another incident, and we’re happy that we prevented another attack.”

Byron is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

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