A suspect was seriously injured in a gas station robbery attempt in Nanaimo on the weekend. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)

A suspect was seriously injured in a gas station robbery attempt in Nanaimo on the weekend. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)

Suspect nearly severs own arm in Island gas station robbery attempt

Bystanders save suspect in Nanaimo after he cuts himself punching through bay door glass

A 28-year-old man is in hospital recovering from severe injuries he sustained while attempting to rob a Petro-Canada gas station in Nanaimo.

The incident occurred at about 5:40 p.m. Saturday at the gas station located at the corner of Terminal Avenue and Princess Royal Avenue.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, police received a 911 call from employees who said a man entered the business, pushed past the clerk, grabbed the till and ran for the door.

The suspect, who appeared to be under the influence of an unknown drug, threw the till at the entrance door.

“He picked up the till again, went outside, and then he broke the glass on the bay doors and at that point he almost severed his arm,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

The suspect collapsed and was immediately helped by three passersby, who together applied pressure and used a bungy cord as an improvised tourniquet to control the bleeding.

Officers arrived minutes later and re-applied a second tourniquet until B.C. paramedics attended and transported the suspect to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital where he is recovering.

The stolen till was recovered in the gas station parking lot.

“While at the local hospital, investigators were told by the attending vascular surgeon if it was not for the quick response and emergency first aid by all involved, the male may have died in the parking lot from his injuries,” O’Brien, said in a press release. “The quick thinking of the three individuals who assisted was absolutely outstanding, and the RCMP will recognize them at some point in the future for their heroic actions.”

The suspect, whose name has yet to be released, faces charges of robbery and mischief.