Safety concerns raised following unprovoked attack at Penticton business

Safety concerns raised following unprovoked attack at Penticton business

Safety concerns are being raised following an unprovoked attack at a downtown Penticton business, last weekend.

Safety concerns raised following unprovoked attack at Penticton business

Freeride Boardshop sales associate, Grayden Portman, was working on Sunday, Jan. 7, when he says a man came into the shop with behaviour that raised some red flags and was asked to leave.

“The first time we saw him he came in around 11:00 a.m., very, very rushed, very pushy, very aggressively… my coworker worked with him the best he could during the whole time,” said Portman.

“Then we got it all at the counter, he pulled out what it was like four different cards and when his card wouldn’t tap, he got a little aggressive about it being like I have a tap-only card which kind of gives us the indication that it was probably a stolen card.”

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It wasn’t until later that day when the man allegedly returned with a bong that he used to smash against the front door.

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The man then allegedly threw a sharp piece of the bong at Portman which left a large gash on the employee’s arm.

“Around 5:00 p.m., and it had already gotten dark, he had us standing at the door, yelling at us through the window. While he was up front, he was banging on the window with his hands and then he started using the bong to hit the window,” said Portman.

“He smashed the bong on the window, the base of the bong, and then he still had the big, long tube in his hands. So, there’s glass all on the floor there and I was standing about right here, and he just looked at me and then tomahawked the stem of this bong and I tried to dodge him and still clip my arm.”

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The man then went back outside and grabbed the store’s chalkboard and used the board to ram himself into another employee. The incident was captured on camera, that Portman shared with Global News.

Police were called and the man was arrested on scene shortly after.

“I didn’t even realize I had been cut up and I lifted up my sweater and thought something feels wrong. So I took my sweater off and then I saw my t-shirt was covered in blood and there’s a real deep gash in my arm,” said Portman.

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“An ambulance was called so they took a look and said you need a couple stitches, went to the hospital. They ended up doing seven and I did charge him so he can’t come back to the store.”

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According to Portman, the store has dealt with an increasing amount of crime in recent years but nothing like this before.

“I kind of always knew that something like this could happen. That’s kind of the reality of working in downtown Penticton. I think you know all the business owners down here have dealt with it to some extent,” said Portman.

“I didn’t think something like that was going to happen. I mean, it was just a regular Sunday afternoon. It was a very calm day. Nothing happened and then just out of nowhere just got attacked.”

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The City of Penticton says they are aware of the concerns and have done a lot of work  locally to help mitigate the issue.

The city is calling on the provincial government, though, to take more action.

“Absolutely we understand their concerns. We are keeping a close eye on what’s happening as well. Obviously, we are working diligently with the RCMP, the RCMP are doing a great job. They’re working with our bylaw departments to find the culprits and to make sure that they get the services that they need,” said Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield.

“We do a lot of work in trying to deal with the folks that are causing the problems. But at the end of the day, we have nowhere to put them and that is the province’s responsibility, and we need a judicial system that backs up the province and make sure that these folks can get the services they need.”

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“More than anything, I’m just worried about it happening again,” said Portman. “I’m glad it was me, but sometimes like 100-pound girl who works here, a 17- year-old, a 19-year-old.”

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Meanwhile, Portman believes the man who was arrested has since been released.

Global News did reach out to RCMP for more information, but did not receive a response.

“It’s definitely getting worse as you start to see a lot more people, more street people, a lot more people strung out, hearing about more crimes, more local businesses having to deal with stuff like this,” said Portman.

“I think someone who’s that aggressive with previous charges should probably be put away for some amount of time and assessed to see if they’re OK to be out on the streets. Seems like a real catch and release system.”

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