Four-year sentence for failed attempt at crime spree

Police credit attentive witnesses after suspect found hiding in bushes following two unsuccessful robbery attempts

One of Langley RCMP’s more prolific offenders has been sentenced to four years in jail for a failed one-day crime spree that ended with the robber hiding in some bushes in Willoughby before being arrested on April 7.

Last week, a provincial court judge in Surrey sentenced Mitchell Guiel, 22, to two years in jail for robbery and another two years for a second robbery that took place on the same day in Langley.

He was also given 60 days jail for dangerous operation of a vehicle and received a one-year driving ban. He was sentenced to three and half months in jail for using an imitation firearm during those robberies. He will serve that at the same time.

He was also given a 10-year firearms ban.

Langley RCMP were called on April 7 for an armed robbery at the Walnut Grove Market, where a man had entered the store, produced a handgun and demanded cash.

He wasn’t successful in getting any money and was seen fleeing in a white pickup truck, said police at the time.

Forty-five minutes later, a second robbery was reported at the Husky station in Fort Langley. Once again a handgun was produced, but no money was obtained and the suspect was seen fleeing in a white pickup truck.

A Langley officer spotted the truck headed northbound in the 7200 block of 200 Street a short time later. It’s alleged the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 120km/h and at times veered into oncoming traffic.

The truck was subsequently abandoned north of 80 Avenue on 200 Street. Witnesses nearby told officers they had seen the suspect run west and pointed out his hiding spot in some bushes.

Police had help from members from Ridge Meadows RCMP, Integrated Police Dog Services and Emergency Response Team in the apprehension of the suspect, said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy.

“This significant arrest was made possible due to a number of fortunate breaks, none of which would have happened without the initial observations of attentive witnesses,” said Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power at the time Guiel was arrested.

“With the timely and key information being broadcast, a number of alert members teamed up with even more citizens to complete the apprehension with no one being harmed.”

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