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Vicious attack sparks police manhunt
Penticton RCMP have spread their manhunt for David Wesley Bobbitt after a brutal attack on a woman found bound in his second-hand store early Sunday morning.
Bobbitt is wanted on a charge of attempted murder after a 22-year-old woman was found tied up and brutally beaten inside his store called Dave’s Second Hand Store at 146 Ellis St. Her two-year-old child was also found inside unharmed. Friends of the victim said she has 60 staples in her head, black eyes and bruising down her arms from fighting off her attacker, who used a sledgehammer to strike her.
“The victim’s dad just gave me these (mug shots of Bobbitt) and said call your loved ones. If you are from Penticton, the Okanagan area, call your friends, call your family, anyone you know just to make sure they are OK,” said Lisa Redl, a longtime friend of the victim’s family. “This guy is somewhere. He could be in your backyard, he could be in your car. He could be anywhere so make that phone call.”
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said RCMP are working with detachments across the country in case Bobbitt tries to leave B.C. Police believe the man will not get far as he does not have a vehicle registered to him and because of the attention media is giving to the incident. Moskaluk said the public should consider Bobbitt armed and dangerous and should not approach him.
Friends of the victim said the woman was at the store to buy a mattress for her son and was on her way out when she was knocked out with a sledgehammer. They said when she woke up she was tied to a bed. RCMP said the family had contacted police on Saturday after the woman did not drop off her child before she went to work.
The victim’s friend Sharon O’Connor said they were not satisfied with the response they were getting from police, and family and friends began searching themselves. Early Sunday morning O’Connor said she and another person found the victim’s car, with its windows down and doors unlocked, in the parking lot across the street from the second-hand store. They then called the victim’s brother, who began searching nearby buildings, checking the roofs and the creek before eventually breaking open the door of the second-hand store.
It was through that ajar door that police gained access to the second -hand store and found the victim and her son. Her attacker had already fled.
“The baby was beside her the whole time ... he said (to the victim) he was going to stuff her in a couch and put her in the landfill,” said Redl.
Penticton resident Lindsay Gallagher Smith said she had an uneasy feeling about Bobbitt after visiting his store several times looking for arts and crafts supplies. One exchange in February kept her from entering the store again.
“One time I went in and asked the price for about seven or eight glass vases. He said, ‘Oh, you can have them for free.’ Then he said you are going to come back, right? I had asked him earlier if he had these kind of mirrors I was looking for and he said he would probably have them in a couple of days and I should come back,” said Gallagher Smith, who recalled offering him money for vases several times. “When I heard the story of what happened on the weekend I could not get over it, I was shaking all night. I was going over in my mind trying to figure out what his intentions were in telling me to come back in a couple of days.”
The woman said it was rare for other shoppers to be in the store when she would go in looking for supplies. Because of the light coming through the windows, it wasn’t until after a few visits she realized there was no electricity and as the weather got cooler she found there was no heat.
“He was always very reserved, quiet and seemed to be totally lacking social skills. I once went into the back rooms and started feeling nervous because there is no one in there, it’s dark and I just had this instinct but couldn’t put my finger on it. He didn’t have enough money to pay for the lights and he is giving me things for free? I took them and never went back because it was too weird,” said Gallagher Smith.
The Penticton RCMP describe Bobbitt as a 35-year-old white male, five-foot-seven, 180 pounds, brown eyes, balding brown hair, medium build and clean shaven. Anyone who has seen Bobbitt or know of his current whereabouts are asked to immediately call 9-1-1, Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Investigators would also like to speak to anyone who may have frequented Dave’s Second Hand Store on Saturday.
Friends of the victim are planning to set up a trust fund account at TD Bank as she will be unable to work for awhile due to her injuries. For more information on how to donate they ask people to visit their Facebook page ‘Support for Penticton Hostage Survivors.’ As of Tuesday afternoon, $2,325 had been donated to the online fund.