A comprehensive three-year investigation into a series of break-and-enters and sexual assaults in south Etobicoke has ended with the arrest of a husband and wife.
On October 29, Fitzroy Burton, 32, and Jehanneiry Beaton, 31, both of Toronto, were arrested. They appeared in court the following day.
It’s alleged that Burton selected homes when the occupants were asleep and committed sexual assaults. Property was also stolen from the homes including cellphones, jewelry, money, cameras, cigarettes and, in one instance, a vehicle that was used to commit a break-and-enter.
At a news conference at police headquarters on October 31, Sex Crimes Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said an intense coordinated investigation, along with the public’s assistance, led to the arrest of Burton who is alleged to have struck 59 times and is now facing 95 charges, ranging from break-and-enters to sexual assaults.
His wife is alleged to have committed seven offences related to break-and-enters.
“The crimes that she has been charged with are break-and-enter related,” said Beaven-Desjardins. “But now, of course, the arrests have happened and search warrants have been executed, then we go into the evidence we have now and further charges will come out of it.
Beaven-Desjardins praised the skilled investigators who worked as a team to solve the case and the public for coming forward to police with information.
“A lot of the time with police work, you have to do tedious work going over occurrences and linking things by similar fact or by video for instance,” she said. “On the face, each individual occurrence looks like it’s not linked. We brought in the best across the Service to look at all this information. The public’s assistance was incredible in giving us information. We had to tie it all together.”
Confident that Burton is linked to the 59 occurrences for which he has been charged, Beaven-Desjardins described the suspect as a ‘serial sexual predator’.
“Throughout the past few years, residents have been woken up to somebody standing in their house,” she said. “On some occasions, there were actual physical and sexual assaults that took place. You can only imagine that you are in a deep sleep and you wake up for whatever reason and find someone standing in your bedroom or in another area of your house. That is serious. Sexual assaults are always considered serious, but when someone actually enters your home, where you feel safe, especially when you are sleeping and you are awoken to a predator like this, I would say it’s one of the most heinous crimes.”
She acknowledged that the investigation was challenging and frustrating.
“There were points when it’s alleged he would hit in clusters and then stop and it became very challenging,” said Beaven-Desjardins. “We, however, have a group of determined investigators. Just because it happened years ago doesn’t mean we stop looking. Wednesday was a great ending to a really long investigation that people put a lot of work into. It was successful and we are very happy with the outcome.”
Burton, who just managed to escape from police on a few occasions by scaling fences, lived in 22 Division and was incarcerated at least once during the span of the sexual assaults and break- and-enters.
“He obviously knows some of the areas around there and it does make it difficult for us to track if he has definite exit routes that are not easily accessible,” Beaven-Desjardins added. “…He was agile.”
Investigators are sifting through the stolen property and members of the public may be invited to 22 Division in the near future to identify their property.
“We are just looking into that right now because of the amount that we do have,” said Beaven-Desjardins.
Police believe there may further victims and are encouraging them to come forward.
“We believe there may be many more victims, both within our border and across into Peel region, and we have been working with Peel Regional Police throughout this investigation,” said Beaven-Desjardins.
Superintendent Shaun Narine of 22 Division said collaboration was the key to the arrests.
“This has been an excellent example of the utilization of our investigative resources through Sex Crimes, the 22 Division Investigative team and internal and external resources,” he said. “Without the absolute cooperation of our community in central and south Etobicoke, Crime Stoppers tips and various social media resources, this investigation would not be to the point where it is now. It has been a long three years and it’s through the tenacity and vigilant work of the investigators that they were able to open a number of leads that led to this individual.
“It’s our inherent responsibility as a Service to ensure public safety and enhance the quality of life within the Division and the communities of this great city of Toronto. The apprehension of this individual will bring some peace to our neighbourhoods. My message to any other criminal out there is that we will leave no stone unturned in our investigations to bring the accused to justice.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2222, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).