Diner foils robbery attempt at Penticton restaurant

A robbery attempt at a Main Street restaurant was thwarted by an anti-crime advocate.

Diner foils robbery attempt at Penticton restaurant

A robbery attempt at a Main Street restaurant was thwarted by an anti-crime advocate.

Clay Robert Oldershaw, 36, received 16 months in jail, minus six months for time served, on Nov. 19 after being convicted of robbery, disguising his face with the intent to commit an offence, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and breaching recognizance.

The attempted robbery of the Capitol Restaurant in July was quickly brought to a halt when Ed Stacey, national president of the Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse, confronted the two male would-be robbers telling them “wrong place, wrong time.”

Stacey, his wife, who is also part of the Urban Bulldogs organization, and three-year-old daughter were the last customers in the restaurant that night — they were friends with the owner and would often stay past closing.

As the restaurant owner was closing up for the night, Oldershaw and another male entered around 8 p.m., pulling their shirts over their faces and Oldershaw asked the owner to give him money.

The owner of the family-run restaurant testified at the Nov. 3 trial that she initially thought it was a customer playing a joke on her.

When Stacey intervened the two robbers slowly backed out of the store brandishing a can of bear spray.

“We would go there roughly about once a week and it just happened that our daughter wanted to go there because she calls it her restaurant,” Stacey said outside the courtroom after the sentencing.

“We talk to the family and we’ve known them for so long that usually we’re there after closing. That night we stayed there and that’s when I started noticing them across the street,” Stacey said. “Being a bad guy and becoming a good guy, you kind of remember some of the bad guy stuff.”

Stacey had seen Oldershaw and his accomplice hanging around outside the restaurant prior to entering. Crown counsel argued that the two were casing the restaurant, while Oldershaw’s defence, James Pennington, suggested they were “screwing up the courage” to commit the robbery.

In a victim impact statement, Stacey’s wife said their young daughter was subject to nightmares for some time after the incident which often involved the “bad man.”

Pennington suggested Oldershaw receive a suspended sentence noting that it is “not a slap on the wrist” and he would find himself in custody if he were to reoffend. Crown suggested a jail sentence of two years.

Oldershaw has a prior criminal record, and was released just days before the attempted robbery after being convicted of a spousal assault charge earlier this year. Prior to the assault conviction, Oldershaw’s record was clean from 2002 to 2015.

“We believe things would have been a lot worse if we hadn’t been there. What upsets my wife is (Oldershaw) made a statement to police that he did know that our daughter was in there,” Stacey said. “It’s a dumb thing to do when you make a report to the police that you knew there was people in there, especially a child, and you still did it.”

Stacey said he was satisfied with the sentence.

Judge Gail Sinclair classified the robbery as the “act of a desperate man” with Oldershaw looking for some quick cash having split up with his wife and getting laid off from his mining job.

Oldershaw who appeared at the sentencing via video from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre apologized for his actions.

“I just want to go back to work and support my family and see my son again. I regret everything done and I just want to be a better father to my kids,” he said.

Oldershaw received a 10-year firearms prohibition and was sentenced to two years probation upon his release from custody.