Two arrested for taxi robbery in Nanaimo

Two suspects are in custody after allegedly robbing a taxi driver at knife point in Nanaimo Wednesday.

Two suspects are in custody after allegedly robbing a taxi driver at knifepoint in Nanaimo Wednesday.

The incident happened on Doumont Road at about 9:30 a.m. A passerby saw the driver of an AC Taxi company cab being robbed and called 911.

The cab driver told police he picked up the two male suspects and was approaching the Pleasant Valley Community Centre when they pulled out knives and demanded his cash and cellphone. They then ran off southbound on the E&N Railway tracks with the phone and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police contained the area and the suspects were tracked down less than an hour later with help from police dog handlers Cpl. Dean Muir and Const. Andrew Allan and their dogs Lars and Sunny.

The dogs also helped recover a knife and other items cast off by the suspects.

The taxi driver was not injured, but was shaken up by the ordeal.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said both suspects are known to police.

Police have recommended charges of robbery against both young offenders, age 17 and 16. They are being held in custody and will appear in Nanaimo provincial court Thursday (Aug. 25).

O’Brien said taxi robberies in Nanaimo are infrequent, but not rare and taxi drivers, who are always carrying cash, face a high level of risk on the job.

“They’re often picking up drug addicts and people who have done crime or are about to do a crime,” O’Brien said. “It’s a risky business.