'Sorry, guys': Thief shoots ceiling, robs bar, apologizes

After getting the money from the cash register, the polite thief who shot a hole in the ceiling did something truly Canadian - he apologized.

Karaoke night in small-town Alberta interrupted by gun-toting robber

On Friday, May 13th, a man walked into the Onoway Hotel bar, fired a shot into the roof and robbed the bar. (Google Maps)

The man waited until Jocelyn Arcand finished singing a karaoke version of the Dixie Chicks.

Then he pulled out a gun.

"They had just stopped the music and she had just finished singing, and he walked further into the bar," said Jo-Anne White, Arcand's mother-in-law. "And that's when he shot." 

White was also at the Onoway Hotel bar on Friday night. She said after the man fired into the ceiling he calmly ordered everyone to the floor.

When he left, he turned around and he apologizes to us. He says, 'Sorry, guys.' - Jo-Anne White

The bar went silent. 

The woman nearest the gunman fell to the floor, and some patrons thought she'd been shot.

"It just happened so quickly, I couldn't believe it was happening," White said. "My daughter-in-law, she was so scared she was shaking.

"He was very calm about it, he just raised his voice a little. The only time he swore was when he asked for the money."

White said the owner was running the karaoke machine at the time. From behind the panel, the owner ordered staff behind the bar to give the gunman all the money in the cash register. The man did not rob the patrons, only the bar.

Then the robber did something truly Canadian. He apologized.

"When he left, he turned around and he apologizes to us," said White. "He says, 'Sorry, guys.' "

Uncle and niece arrested

After the man slipped out of the bar, he got into a car with his 18-year-old niece, police say, and they drove off.

The getaway car later ran out of gas.

Tips from the public helped police catch up with the pair the next day.

RCMP have now charged a 38-year-old man and his niece with armed robbery.

The uncle faces 13 charges, including armed robbery, careless use of a firearm and assault causing bodily harm. He remains in police custody.

Police say the bullet that hit the ceiling ricocheted and hit an employee in the hand, causing minor injuries.

The niece has also been charged with armed robbery and is scheduled to go to court in Stony Plain on May 25. 

As for White and Arcand, they say they're still shaken up but are relieved arrests have been made.

For the next little while, White said she will likely avoid karaoke night at the Onoway Hotel. 

With files from Lydia Neufeld