Police halted a spree of daylight street robberies of elderly women in the Morningside Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. area
A 15-year-old boy, who was arrested on March 25 after a brief foot pursuit by police, now faces charges.
Just minutes earlier, he is alleged to have stolen a purse from a 91-year-old woman who was walking on the sidewalk.
Constables Paul Tonna and his partner Christos Alexakis were close by when the call came in over their radio shortly after 4 p.m.
“When we pulled into the complex, we saw someone matching the description of the suspect,” said Tonna. “When he saw us, he started to run and I pursued him on foot and told him to stop, which he refused to do.”
As the officer went after the suspect, Constable Amanda Frederick was in close proximity coming from the opposite direction and joined them in pursuit.
“I saw the suspect coming towards me and got out of my car to help Constable Tonna,” she said.
The youth was apprehended and taken into custody.
“When we got back to the station to book him, I realized that I knew the young man from my days as a Community School Liaison Officer,” said Frederick. “After speaking with him, he told me where he had ditched the victim’s purse and we were able to recover it with all her belongings inside.”
This was the third robbery in 10 days that the suspect is alleged to have committed.
On March 15 at around 1:30 p.m., a 95-year-old victim was at the Morningside Library reading a book when the suspect grabbed her purse and attempted to run away. During a brief struggle, the suspect pushed the victim who fell on the ground and struck her head on a bookshelf. The thief escaped with the woman’s purse.
Nine days later at about 1:45 p.m., a 75-year-old woman was walking home on Collingsgrove Rd. when a male approached her from behind and poked her in the shoulder with a knife. As the victim turned around, he ripped her purse from her body, breaking the strap in the process. During the struggle for the purse, the accused pushed the victim to the ground and ran away with her purse.
About 30 minutes later, he used the victim’s stolen debit card at a Kingston Rd. convenience store to purchase a prepaid Visa credit card. Attempts to make other purchases with the stolen card were declined.
Staff Sergeant Robert Tobin praised his officers for making a quick arrest.
“This was a team effort by the Primary Response, Major Crime and the Community Investigative Support Units along with Neighbourhood Officers and members of the Customer Service Resolution team,” he said. “I am proud of all those involved in responding to this call and the fantastic work they put in.”