Williams Lake grandfather stops bank robbery in progress

Stopping a bank robbery was “the right thing to do.”

Bill Drebit has always wondered what he would do in an emergency.

Now he knows.

Drebit wrestled a suspected bank robber to the ground as he was attempting to rob the CIBC in Williams Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at around 4:19 p.m.

The robbery was the second at the bank in as many weeks.

“I grabbed him and kind of led him to the floor and another man was good enough to come and grab hold of him too and we just held him on the floor until the police arrived,” Drebit said Thursday, noting he doesn’t know the name of the other gentleman who helped but learned he was from Anahim Lake. “It’s a good thing he was there because I probably wouldn’t have been able to hold him by myself.”

Drebit said he was just finishing up his transaction with a teller, when the suspect, who had disguised his face with a scarf, budged through and told the teller to hand over all her money.

“He had just robbed the teller next to her,” he said.

When asked if he acted on instinct by confronting the robber, Drebit chuckled and said he did not really know.

“It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It’s really not a big deal.”

Officer in Charge of the Williams Lake RCMP, Insp. Jeff Pelley, said due to the immediate assistance of the two “astute” customers and a timely response by the RCMP, the man was arrested and taken into custody without incident and that none of the CIBC employees were harmed.

Read more: Police rush to second Williams Lake bank robbery in as many weeks

On Wednesday, one charge of robbery and another of wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence were sworn against Christopher Michael Swain of 100 Mile House, in Williams Lake.

Swain will remain in custody until his next court appearance scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Williams Lake Provincial Court.

For Drebit, Tuesday’s robbery attempt was the first time he had ever witnessed a crime.

He said it was terrible to see someone trying to rob the CIBC again.

Drebit was referring to the armed robbery that took place there on Nov. 17 when a man wearing a bright red wig and sunglasses entered the bank, indicated he had a gun, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Read more: Williams Lake RCMP searching for armed robbery suspect

Drebit is a millwright and has worked at Tolko’s Soda Creek Sawmill for 47 years.

He has been married for 46 years to his wife, Lorna, and together they have four children.

Their daughter Nancy Hadden lives in Williams Lake and told the Tribune when she learned her dad had helped stop the robbery she was really surprised, and also proud.

“He phoned me and told me ‘I just stopped a bank robbery’, and I thought in my head, ‘you mean you were in the bank and it got robbed,’” Hadden said.

“When I realized what he meant, I didn’t really know what to say. Then I told him, ‘well mom’s got something to put in the Christmas newsletter now.’”

Read more: Charges laid against CIBC bank robbery suspect

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read