Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on Wednesday morning (June 2) at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on Wednesday morning (June 2) at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)

Suspect charged in relation to thwarted armed robbery at Abbotsford bank

Neil Robert Simpson, 46, has long criminal history, including previous robberies

The suspect in an armed bank robbery in Abbotsford that was thwarted by four customers on Wednesday (June 2) has been charged.

Neil Robert Simpson, 46, has been charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm, according to the provincial court database.

The incident took place at about 11:30 a.m. at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way.

Police reported later that day that a suspect walked into the bank carrying a shotgun and ordered everyone to lie on the ground.

The person then threw bags onto the counter and demanded money, but was quickly tackled to the ground by four customers.

Officers arrived on scene and arrested the suspect. They confirmed that the shotgun was real.

Neil Robert Simpson in a 2013 police handout photo.

Simpson, who identifies as female, has a long criminal record.

RELATED: 4 customers tackle armed bank robber in Abbotsford

Previous media reports indicate Simpson, then 26, was the subject of a police manhunt after fleeing custody with the help of two armed accomplices on Dec. 30, 2000.

Simpson was being escorted back to prison – while serving time for possession of stolen property and prohibited weapons – after being treated for wounds at a Surrey hospital.

A news article stated that Simpson was taken to hospital after being slashed, but it was later discovered that the wounds were self-inflicted.

As the two unarmed guards and a handcuffed-and-shackled Simpson were leaving, they were approached by a man and a woman armed with a shotgun. They demanded that Simpson be released, and Simpson then got into the back of a stolen vehicle, which sped away.

RELATED: ‘I’m not going to die today’: Abbotsford bank robbery hero speaks out

Simpson later received a six-month conditional sentence and 12 months’ probation for escaping from lawful custody.

A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Simpson in December 2013 after she failed to return to her designated home in Prince George.

Simpson was again in the news in 2017 after being charged with holding up a Prince George bank four years earlier. The charges were thrown out when the judge ruled that the case had taken too long to prosecute.

According to the provincial court database, Simpson has multiple prior convictions for offences such as drug possession, unauthorized possession of a firearm, assault with a weapon, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a stolen vehicle, robbery and using an imitation firearm.

Among the aliases used by Simpson are Speedy, Neil Nugget and Jason Plante, according to the database.



vhopes@abbynews.com

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