The incident began with a tanning salon receptionist becoming suspicious of a prospective client. It would quickly turn into armed robbery and a rapid response from the Langley RCMP.
On July 5, two women walked into the salon, in the 8500 block of 200th Street, and asked the receptionist about various tanning packages.
They asked to see the tanning beds, and then left, said Cpl. Holly Marks, spokesperson for the Langley RCMP.
The receptionist felt the women's behaviour had been somewhat odd and suspicious, so she checked surveillance recordings. She discovered that one woman had shoplifted a pair of earrings while standing at the front counter.
The receptionist called the RCMP to report the theft.
She was talking to an RCMP dispatch worker when one of the women rushed back in.
The woman was holding a knife above her head, screaming, and demanding cash. She took money from the till, the victim's purse and phone, and then ran for it with her friend.
Because the victim had been on the phone with the RCMP, officers were on their way immediately. The dispatch workers also called other local businesses and asked them to be on alert for the two women.
One of the nearby stores quickly reported seeing the duo of robbers getting into a cab. Dispatch called the cab company and the police were quickly put in touch with the driver, Marks said.
However, they ran into a language problem, as the driver's English was not very good.
A Punjabi-speaking RCMP officer was quickly patched into the call, and he was able to talk to the driver about their location, without the women being any the wiser.
Langley RCMP stopped the cab in the 18600 block of 88th Avenue in Surrey and arrested the two women without incident, said Marks.
The incident shows how a partnership between the RCMP and the business community can help catch suspects quickly, Marks said. It highlights how businesses can watch out for each other, she said.
Shianne Halls, a 19-year-old Langley woman, and Ashli Sylvestre, 25, of North Vancouver, have both been charged with armed robbery and theft under $5,000.
They were held in custody until Monday.