Police seek suspect in Thanksgiving armed robbery

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Vancouver police have asked for the public’s help in catching a man who allegedly robbed a convenience store at gunpoint on East Fourth Plain Boulevard just before noon on Thanksgiving.

The suspect allegedly entered the Speed-E Mart at 3208 E. Fourth Plain at about 11:45 a.m., according to police. The store’s owner, Quan Nguyen, said the man showed a gun to him and demanded money but softened the affront with an apology, Nguyen and police said.

Nguyen said the black gun was tucked in the waist of the suspect’s jeans, and the suspect lifted up his jacket to show it to Nguyen.

“He displayed a gun he had on him but didn’t touch it. (He) just showed it,” said Vancouver police Officer Carole Boswell. “He asked for money and apologized to the clerk.”

Boswell said she could not disclose the amount that was stolen because of a pending investigation into the incident.

Nguyen, who said he has owned the store for about seven years, said initially, he thought the robbery was a joke, because the suspect’s demeanor didn’t seem threatening.

“At first, I thought it was one of my customers teasing me,” Nguyen said. “I didn’t take it seriously until he showed me the gun. I handed the money over the counter. He took the money and ran.”

Nguyen said Thursday was the first time he has been robbed.

“He said he’s sorry,” he said.

The clerk called 9-1-1 after the suspect fled on foot north on Norris Road.

Officers who responded to the call interviewed people in the residential area near Norris but had not found the suspect as of 3 p.m. Thursday, Boswell said.

The suspect is described as a nearly 6-foot-tall white man with a medium build and about 40 to 45 years old. He was wearing a light-colored Beanie cap and a tan jacket or sweatshirt with a hood, baggy jeans, and had salt-and-pepper-colored facial hair.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 9-1-1.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551, paris.achen@columbian.com.