Homicide Cold Case investigators are offering a $50,000 reward in connection with the 35-year-old murder of an armoured car guard.
On April 24, 1980, two Brink’s armoured car guards were ambushed while delivering a large amount of money at a Toronto Dominion Bank in the Agincourt Mall. One of the guards, Larry Roberts, was shot and killed, while another sustained injuries before the suspects left with the money they were transporting.
“Cold case investigations can be very complex due to the passage of time. Cases become cold because evidence cannot be linked to persons or person responsible. In these cases we look towards the public to establish that link,” said Inspector Peter Moreira, urging people to come forward with information.
The $50,000 reward will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the murder.
Detective Mary Vruna said there were three men involved in the robbery and murder. Two were armed with handguns and one with an automatic-type weapon.
“Roberts was shot in the chest, at close range, by one of the suspects,” said Vruna.
Two of the suspects then ran into the mall entrance of the Scarborough branch of a library, while the third suspect fired shots into the ceiling. All three suspects ran through the library and exited from the rear of the library into a green North American car.
Two cars later recovered by police were linked to the robbery and murder: a 1975 Blue Gran Torino and a 1977 Oldsmobile Delta. Both were stolen from the Montreal area and their licence plates stolen from around the Ottawa area.
While there is belief that the three were wearing disguises, with the help of witness descriptions a Toronto Police artist was able to make a composite sketch of one of the persons of interest. It is not known how the man was involved in the crime or whether he pulled the trigger.
The composite sketch has been aged 35 years by a Toronto Police Forensic artist to show what the person of interest may look like now.
Police are hoping that people may be more willing to come forward because of the passage of time.
“Over time, and, sometimes over a great deal of time, people’s attitudes change, relationships change and people may have a nagging whisper in their ear about doing the right thing,” said Moreira. “We are seeking that small piece of evidence that can change the case forever or change the lives of the victims’ families… these families still contact us decades later. The families will not forget and we will never stop looking.”
Detective Vruna added that, through DNA technology, investigators now believe there may have been a woman involved in the incident as well. She could not provide a description of the woman.
Investigators also believe that the suspects may have ties in the Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario areas.
Police are also looking at individuals who have been arrested for similar offences across Canada and the United States, according to Vruna, who also said that the police had worked with the Centre of Forensic Sciences to review evidence gathered at the scene.
Through this review, DNA profiles have been created but have not yielded results yet.
The detective said she believed the three men knew what they were doing and that the crime was a planned one.
“They may have done some research as to when the Brink’s armoured car would be doing its delivery.”
While cold cases are complex to solve, Vruna said that criminals should know that no matter how old the case, they will not be able to get away with murder.
“Families may have lost their loved ones but they have not been forgotten. This is not only important to families but also to Toronto Police Homicide to continue to investigate these crimes and send a clear message to any suspects out there that they may not be able to get away with it no matter how old the murder is,” said Vruna.