Robbers steal cash, damage new garments

Avenue shop sprayed with white substance

A tailor hit by a destructive robbery recently calls the crime “ridiculous.”

That’s because when two young men walked into Henry’s Tailors at 1834 Oak Bay Ave. on March 25 at 6 p.m., they didn’t steal much – just a handful of cash. However, one man sprayed white paint or powder on almost every piece of clothing in the shop – about 150 suits and 200 pairs of pants.

“It’s ridiculous. I could understand if they came in to steal something, but they just sprayed that stuff,” said Sharon Chan, the shop’s owner.

The shorter of the two men came into the store first. Chan thought he was a customer picking up an item, but he demanded money.

A second, taller man walked in moments later and sprayed a white substance that filled the room like a cloud, making it difficult for Chan to see. A white line marked the sleeves of suits hung along the wall, and another tarnished a rack of dress pants.

Chan said the shorter man received only about $100 cash. He didn’t produce a weapon.

She watched them both leave, then called police. Police officers arrived with a tracking dog, but couldn’t find the suspects.

They are both described as skinny men in their early 20s. One had an “odd” tanned face with white lines, was 5’8”, clean-shaven with small eyes, jeans and a navy blue hoodie.

The other was described as good-looking and very skinny, clean-shaven with a long face, 6’3”, wearing a light grey hoodie and jeans.

One or both suspects might have had some white spray paint on his clothes the night of March 25.

In her 17 years in business in Victoria, Chan said she’s never been robbed. She’ll be turning off her “open” sign earlier from now on and will be more alert.

“I’m a little more tense still,” she said five days after the incident. “Whenever a customer comes in, I’m a bit jumpy.”

Faint traces of the white substance were still visible on the clothes four days later. Chan said almost everything in the store would be on its way to the dry cleaners. Insurance will cover any losses, she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Shauneen Cope at 250-995-7321 or Det. Roger de Pass at 250-995-7372 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

ecardone@vicnews.com