Are jewelry store heists in Mississauga, Brampton and across southern Ontario connected?
Published January 30, 2024 at 3:51 pm
A rash of “smash-and-grab” jewelry store robberies in Mississauga, Brampton, Burlington and elsewhere including Toronto and the Niagara area has police in several jurisdictions comparing notes to see if the same culprits are behind the violent heists.
Niagara Regional Police investigating simultaneous robberies last night at two jewelry stores inside the Pen Centre shopping mall in St. Catharines told insauga.com today they are aware of the other similar heists in Mississauga and around the GTA.
“Our detectives will liaise with their counterparts in the other jurisdictions to determine if there is a link,” Niagara Const. Philip Gavin said in an email.
Similar to robberies earlier this month at Square One in Mississauga and back in December at Bramalea City Centre in Brampton — in addition to a smash-and-grab heist last week in Burlington — masked men burst into Kavar Jewellers and Griffin Jewellers in St. Catharines on Monday night shortly after 8:30 p.m. and in one case began smashing display cases with hammers.
Niagara police said “four unknown masked males” split up, with two bursting into the one jewelry store while the other pair of culprits targeted the second store.
“Investigation revealed that two suspects entered Griffin Jewellers, where they began to smash the glass showcases with a hammer,” police said in a news release. “The suspects stole assorted jewelry and ran from the store.”
Meanwhile, the other two bandits ran into Kavar Jewellers, where they “demanded cash and assaulted an employee,” police said, before being chased out of the store empty-handed by a bystander.
Police said there were no physical injuries to store employees or others, but there was “a significant amount of damage caused to Griffin Jewellers.”
The thieves fled the scene in a grey 2022 Honda CRV that had been stolen on Sunday in Etobicoke. It was discovered by police at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning after having been abandoned in Toronto.
Peel Regional Police detectives hunting several men they believe to be responsible for both a Jan. 17 heist at a Square One jewelry store and a Dec. 8 robbery at Bramalea City Centre also said they’re putting their heads together with robbery investigators elsewhere to determine if the same gang of culprits is pulling off all the heists.
The Brampton robbery was caught on video (see below).
Peel police have charged one man in connection to the two Peel robberies and are searching for several more suspects.
“We recognize that these smash-and-grab-style robberies are of significant concern to our community, and they are not limited by geography and policing jurisdiction,” Peel police Const. Richard Chin said in an email to insauga.com. “Our police service is in contact with our policing partners in other regions as we explore all the investigative avenues available to bring investigations to a successful conclusion, which includes assisting and sharing of information as needed.”
Josiah Madurie, 21, of Toronto, has been charged by Peel police with two counts each of robbery, wear disguise and breach of recognizance, and one count possession of stolen property.
He was held pending a bail hearing in Brampton court.
Descriptions of additional suspects in all cases are vague, with Niagara police saying they believe them to be between 18 and 28 years of age.
Halton Regional Police, meanwhile, continue to hunt the men who targeted a Birks jewelry store at Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington on Jan. 21.
In that heist, four masked men rushed into the store at about 6 p.m. and, like the other robberies, used hammers to smash display cases and steal jewelry.
Anyone with information on any of the robberies can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477. In Peel, people can also contact the Central Robbery Bureau at 905-453-2121, ext. 3410insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising