Crystal Stupple may have been raised in England, but her response to a would-be thief was classic Canada.
“He said, ‘I’m gonna get my knife out,’ and I said, ‘Okay, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to do this,’ and I just kind of knocked him by the legs and we both pushed him over,” Stupple explained.
Sorry: when faced with a potentially violent criminal, Stupple took him down in the most polite way possible.
Born on Vancouver Island before moving to England at age nine, Stupple recently returned to Canada to be closer to her mother. Stupple was accompanying her to a bank in Oak Bay Village when the pair noticed a commotion in the front window of Cambridge Antiques. Inside, the store’s owner, Peter Everett, was wrestling with a man who was trying to rob him.
“This guy – the criminal – he was really struggling with him, and he had his arm on the door frame and he was trying to pull his way out of the door, and I just don’t think it was fair,” Stupple said.
The 40-year-old suspect had entered the store a minute or two earlier, wearing a hard hat and dust mask, and approached Everett at the rear counter. He raised a bag containing what appeared to be a gun and threw a second bag down, demanding that Everett fill it with jewelry.
“I thought it was a joke when I first saw him come in,” Everett said. “I thought it was someone who was working on the building.”
When Everett refused to comply with his demands, the thief ran to the front of the store and began grabbing items out of a display window. Unfazed by the potential danger of the situation, Everett gave chase.
“It was anger that somebody would just walk in and think that they could walk out with our stuff,” he said of his lack of fear. The gun, Everett explained, had “a different sort of look to it,” and didn’t worry him. Nor did the possibility of getting shot.
“My thought at that point was, he’s not going to shoot me for a few pieces of jewelry.”
It turned out that what the thief was carrying was in fact a paintball gun. But that didn’t make the situation any less volatile, and that’s when Stupple stepped in. Together with Everett, the pair wrestled the thief to the ground and pinned him there until police arrived.
Tuesday was the first time the two had met since Friday’s tag-team takedown.
“If there are any heroes involved it was really her,” Everett said. “I had never seen her before and she had no reason why she had to try and stop this guy from doing anything.”
Everett added that in his nine years in the village, he’s never heard of anything like this happening. He also had warm words for the community.
“People were lined up to help, they just couldn’t get in the door. That speaks well for the village.”
Stupple said she doesn’t think her actions are a big deal, and life is back to normal. She’s currently looking for a job, and joked that maybe she could join the RCMP.
“I don’t speak French though,” she chuckled.