Quick Arrests in Kensington Robberies

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. November 3, 2017
Updated: 12:31 p.m. November 3, 2017

Two men who allegedly went on a violent robbery spree in 52 and 14 Divisions were arrested quickly by sharp-eyed officers patrolling the surrounding neighbourhoods on bicycle.

Three men in TPS uniform in a laneway with graffiti murals
Constables Michael Kolankowski, Jeff DeCaire and Robert Bongers arrested men wanted in violent robberies while travelling through a laneway

Detective Fred Teatero praised 14 Division Community Response Unit (CRU) officers for making quick arrests about two hours after police received a call that a victim reported being beaten and robbed in Kensington Market October 19.

“They had approached one person before (the robbery) and it looked like these guys were trying to start a fight,” he said. “The guy ignored them and kept walking down the street.”

They then turned their sights on another man, allegedly hitting the victim and smashing his cellphone. A woman intervened but was threatened to back off.

“At that point, one of the suspects put his hands in a gym bag and allegedly threatened to pull out a gun,” said Teatero.

The two men then turned their attention to another man who was taking video of the first attack on his camera phone.

“They realized what he was doing and demanded his phone,” Teatero said. “When he refused, they allegedly punched him and took away the phone. While this is happening, two females tried to stop them from beating the man and one of them was punched in the face.”

The suspects fled the scene and Neighbourhood Officers Balazs Zanati and Jin Kim had begun their investigation when Constable Michael Kolankowski, Jeff DeCaire and Robert Bongers arrived on scene on bicycles. The three officers reviewed security images and set out to search for the suspects.

They made their way through the area snaking through side streets and alleys before finding themselves in a laneway near  Queen St. W. and Dennison St. within 30 minutes of leaving Kensington.

Kolankowski yelled out to the officers to turn their attention to the two men he alleged looked him the suspects in the video footage, matching their clothing. He managed to detain one of the men right away.

“One of them tried to run away from us, but he didn’t get far.”

Officers seized a cellphone and other property from the men.

DeCaire said being on bicycles is an advantage when downtown as you're more agile than in a scout car.

"We wouldn't have found them without going down that laneway and when you're on a bicycle you always make a point of riding down laneways rather than main roads," he said.

About 10 minutes before the first incident in Kensington Market, it is alleged the men also entered a business in 52 Division, near Spadina Ave. and College St., and assaulted a worker with a weapon before fleeing.

Jesbron Nesbeth, 21, and Michael Tha, 19, are facing several charges, including robbery, threatening death and assault as well as fail to comply with bail.

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