How safe is our neighbourhood? Part Two
This is the second installment in our two-part series on crime in midtown Toronto neighbourhoods. Today, we take a look at robberies, assault and theft over $5,000. For more, have a look at part one.
Leaside pot shop scene of armed robbery
Robberies are on the rise throughout neighbourhoods in 53 Division, with a total of 110 recorded as of Oct. 16. The increase in criminal activity could be due, in part, to what the Toronto Police Service (TPS) has identified as a string of armed robberies at illegal dispensaries across the city. In many cases, police were forced to rely on witnesses to come forward as some owners chose not to report the crimes for fear of being raided by TPS.
On April 25, an illegal dispensary, Eden Medicinal Society at 1625 Bayview Ave. in Leaside, was the target of a violent robbery. According to police reports, three male suspects wearing disguises and armed with a handgun took physical control of the store. Pepper spray was sprayed into the faces of the employees and customers, and the suspects stole a quantity of marijuana and cash. On April 29, police arrested three male suspects, 19, 23 and 18 years of age. One was from Brampton, one from Mississauga and the other of no fixed address. The accused face several charges including robbery with a firearm, administering a noxious substance, possession of a weapon and disguise with intent. All three are due in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 6, 2018.
Earlier in the year on Feb. 15, around 9 p.m., police responded to a call about a holdup at the dispensary Canna Clinic, at 527 Eglinton Ave. W. near Chaplin Crescent, in Forest Hill. Constable Allyson Douglas-Cook, of the TPS, said witnesses saw six suspects enter the establishment — one of whom was carrying a firearm. According to police reports, the suspects left with a number of bags, and the owner and employees fled. No information was provided by the owner as to what was taken, and the investigation is still ongoing. All six suspects are still at large.
On Oct. 19, the Ontario Superior Court issued an injunction to close down all Canna Clinic dispensaries in Toronto. — Samantha Peksa
Police insight: I would say there is definitely an increase in reported robberies, and we could certainly connect that the illegal marijuana dispensaries have a factor in that for sure. — Police Constable Timothy Somers, 53 Division
Uber driver charged in Yonge & Eg kidnapping
Midtown has seen 571 assaults throughout neighbourhoods in 53 Division this year thus far, representing a rise by four per cent over 2016, with more than two months remaining.
On May 21, at 2:45 p.m., an 18-year-old female victim was picked up by an Uber driver near Eglinton Avenue East and Dunfield Avenue. During the ride, the male driver began to engage her in inappropriate conversation.
“He started a conversation with her and it became inappropriate. She declined his advances, and he tried to drive her to an area that was not part of her fare,” said Victor Kwong, corporate communications officer with the TPS.
Kwong said police believe the suspect was trying to take her to his house, but when the car came to a stop, she was able to run away. She then called the police.
“He stopped to pick them up drinks at a plaza on Eglinton Avenue West in Mississauga, and when he stopped, that’s when she bolted.”
Kwong said Uber cooperated with TPS to help identify the driver that was accused and on May 22, at 11:21 a.m., a 24-year-old male from Belleville was arrested and charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault.
A trial date has been set for July 9, 2018. — Mackenzie Patterson
Police insight: Assaults are often robberies that have been fended off or interrupted. [So because robberies are up 45 per cent,] it’s likely assaults are following. — Const. Somers
Theft over $5,000
Purse stolen from downtown hotel used to obtain entry to victim’s Yorkville home
There have been 61 recorded thefts over $5,000 in Midtown neighbourhoods in 53 Division so far this year.
On June 6, a female victim was attending a private function at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel when a male suspect stole her purse and used her personal information and keys to gain access to her Yorkville home.
Someone was in the victim’s house when the suspect arrived. The suspect then stole the victim’s Audi SUV. Security camera images of the suspect were released, and police were able to identify the perpetrator.
On July 23, a 40-year-old male suspect was charged with theft under $5,000, break and enter with intent, theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. Allyson Douglas-Cook, a communications officer with the Toronto Police Service, said that the suspect and the victim did not know each other.
The accused last appeared in court on Sept. 18. — MP