A Crown witness testified that he held the door of the Bedford Regency Hotel for Dominic Oyango Wandolo the morning Paul Mara Jewellers was robbed.
Wandolo has pleaded not guilty to robbery, using an imitation firearm during a robbery and possessing more than $5,000 worth of stolen jewelry. His co-accused, Jacob Michael Werner, pleaded guilty Monday to robbing the high-end Fort Street jewelry store on April 26, 2012, and using an imitation firearm while committing the robbery.
On the stand Wednesday, Brock Eurchuk testified that he was leaving Caffé Artigiano in the Bedford Regency Hotel around 10:10 a.m. when he saw two men who seemed to be in a hurry coming through the hotel lobby. Eurchuk held the door open for them, telling them to go ahead.
Eurchuk told the court that he was leaning on the door so one man was quite close to him.
“The reason I noticed the first man was because he was wearing a handsome boiled wool sweater. I was looking at it as he walked by.”
Eurchuk described the man as about five-foot-seven, 155 pounds and African-American.
The second man did not make the same impression, he said.
About 20 minutes later, Eurchuk was on his cellphone, standing near the intersection of Broughton and Langley streets, when he noticed two men running full tilt around the corner from Government onto Broughton Street.
Eurchuk testified that his immediate reaction was that they were shoplifters. He considered hip-checking them, he said.
But as they got closer, he recognized the man he had held the door open for at the coffee shop.
“This gentleman had a big smile on his face,” Eurchuk said.
He decided the two men were probably just having fun, racing back to the car.
Eurchuk told prosecutor Carmen Rogers he knew it was the man from the hotel because he recognized his face.
Eurchuk agreed with Wandolo’s lawyer, Mike Munro, that the two men had moved rapidly through the door of the coffee shop. He also agreed he didn’t see the handsome boiled wool sweater when the man ran by him.
Victoria police Const. Gregory Holmes, the first officer on the scene, testified he had heard the dispatcher say pepper spray had been used and a handgun may have been used.
Outside the store, Holmes saw three women and a man in pain from the pepper spray. “They were red in the face and had uncontrollable tearing of the eyes,” he recalled.
Holmes and two other officers went into the store. He saw a new watch with a tag still attached on the floor beside a police-style baton. The display cases had been smashed.
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