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Shoplifters violent towards store employees

Prince George RCMP is cautioning the public regarding some recent violence experienced by local store employees.

On May 24, just after 1:30 p.m., Prince George RCMP received a report of a shoplifter at a retail store in the 1900-block of Victoria Street. Officers were told the woman left the store but, on the way out, punched an employee and uttered some threats. Police located the woman a short time later and arrested her for uttering threats and assault. She was released on an undertaking and will appear in court at a future date. The suspect is known to police for similar offences.

Just after 9:00 p.m. on the same date, officers responded to a complaint of an assault at a retail store in the 2100-block of Ferry Avenue. Witnesses stated a man suspected of shoplifting was approached by an employee in order to recover the stolen items. The man allegedly brandished a small knife at the employee and then spat on him. Police located and identified the suspect as 29-year-old Prince George resident Miko Joakim Louhenkorpi. Investigators arrested Louhenkorpi and held him in custody until he could attend court. The B.C. Prosecution Service approved one charge of robbery against Louhenkorpi; he will remain in custody until his next court appearance.

“We want to inform the public that we are seeing an increase in the level of violence displayed by shoplifters in Prince George, and to have this information in mind if they are going to approach someone they suspect of stealing,” said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper, Media Relations Officer for the Prince George RCMP. “We recognize the burden these activities play on our local stores and retail outlets, and want to make sure employees and business owners have current information with which to create their in-store policies around these matters.”

Both files remain under investigation.

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