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69 charges laid against 14 suspects in alleged GTA crime ring

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 5th, 2018

Fourteen people have been charged in a string of residential break-and-enters that targeted homes across the Greater Toronto Area, with as much as $2.7 million in personal property stolen, police said Wednesday.

Police allege the suspects were part of an organized crime ring based out of South America, and stole items that ranged from high end jewelry and luxury bags to cash.

“I’ve never seen a recovery this big,” said Det. Ron Strauch of Halton regional police, noting that he’s been an officer for more than a decade.

“Any other day for me, about $50,000 worth of stuff would be a huge win,” he said.

Officers with the Halton force began investigating late last year, he said, after analysts noted a spike in residential break-and-enters.

In some senses, they followed a specific pattern, Strauch said, with suspects allegedly entering through the back doors of houses. But in other ways, the hits were random. The accused didn’t always target large houses or those in particularly affluent neighbourhoods, and the alleged crimes took place across the GTA, he said.

Strauch said the investigation was fairly slow going until a witness who was out walking his dog in Oakville, Ont., saw a break-and-enter take place early last month.

“Because of witnessing that, he was able to give us a lot of information that sort of blew this investigation up really fast in about three weeks’ time,” Strauch said.

Investigators tracked the suspects’ cars and collected surveillance footage, he said. Surveillance photos released by police show men wearing black hoodies with masks pulled over their mouths who appear to be trying to break into the back door of a house.

Officers conducted four search warrants across regions surrounding Toronto – two in homes, one in a storage unit and one in a motel, Strauch said.

They seized stolen property that included a watch worth $50,000, a designer suitcase worth $20,000 and slippers worth $5,000, he noted.

Halton police charged 10 people – all of whom are Chilean nationals – with offences including break and enter and possession of property obtained by crime and York police charged four others. Strauch said the earliest incidents linked to the group happened late last year.

He declined to comment on how the suspects got to Canada, but said most of them entered the country earlier this year.

In total, police said, 69 charges were laid.

Woman in serious condition following east end fire

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Apr 5th, 2018

A woman in her 20’s is in serious condition after a fire in the city’s east end.

Toronto fire was called to a home near Danforth and Greenwood avenues around 5 p.m. Wednesday night.

Paramedics say they helped two people out of a basement apartment, the woman and a man in his 30’s who suffered only minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

SIU investigating fatal shooting of man in Hamilton

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2018

The province’s police watchdog is investigating a fatal police-involved shooting in Hamilton.

The Special Investigations Unit says Hamilton police officers responded to a call about an armed man on Caledon Avenue, north of Tyrone Drive at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The SIU says police became involved in an “interaction” with a 19-year-old man, but did not release details about the encounter.

The agency says two officers shot the man, who was pronounced dead in hospital. A post-mortem is scheduled for Wednesday

Five investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to the case.

The SIU investigates all reports involving police where there is death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Anyone with information or video footage of the incident is asked to contact the SIU.

Teenager suffers serious injuries after being struck in Brampton

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2018

An 18-year-old girl has been taken to a trauma centre with serious injuries after being hit by a car in Brampton.

Peel police were called to the scene of Countryside Drive and Fernforest Drive just after 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The vehicle did remain on the scene of the collision.

Police have closed the intersection as they investigate the incident.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have dash-cam footage of it are asked to contact police.

Woman shoots 3, self at YouTube in possible domestic dispute

The Associated Press and News Staff | posted Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2018

Two law enforcement sources tell The Associated Press that the shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California is being investigated as a domestic dispute.

A woman opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday, wounding three people before she shot and killed herself, police and witnesses said.

Officers and federal agents swarmed the company’s headquarters complex in the city of San Bruno around 1 p.m as multiple 911 reports came in reporting gunfire.

San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters that the three victims have gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital. A fourth person was also taken to hospital but was not shot, but rather injured while fleeing the scene.

A spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital says it received three patients. Spokesman Brent Andrew says a 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition. The hospital is not expecting more patients.

During a press conference, police said they arrived to find a chaotic scene with numerous panicked employees fleeing the area.

One victim was found with an apparent gunshot wound in front of the main entrance of the building. Two other victims were found at an adjacent business.

After searching the building, a female suspected to be the shooter was located with what’s believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said the weapon used was a handgun.

Police say the scene is still an active investigation, with officers combing the area and interviewing witnesses.

Television news footage showed people leaving the building in a line, holding their arms in the air for police to inspect as they were leaving the building. Officers patted down people to make sure none had weapons, and police vehicles surrounded the area.

A witness on scene described the chaos as people tried to help the wounded. He says one person “got shot 10 times.”

YouTube parent company Google tweeted at 4:30 p.m. saying they were co-ordinating with authorities and later that their security team has been working with authorities to evacuate buildings after the shooting. The company advised employees and others to stay away from the area and that it’s set up a help line for workers.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees calling the incident and “unimaginable tragedy”, while YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted out saying, ” Our deepest gratitude to law enforcement and first responders for their rapid response.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it’s also responding to the shooting at YouTube’s suburban campus.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on a shooting at YouTube headquarters and that officials were monitoring it.

President Trump tweeted his thoughts and prayers for the victims and thanked first responders.

Earlier in the afternoon, Vadim Lavrusik, product manager at YouTube, tweeted that he heard shots and saw people running while at his desk around 1 p.m.

Shortly after he tweeted saying he was safely evacuated along with co-workers.

Will Hudson said his friend who works for YouTube texted him about the shooter.

“I think there might be a shooter in my building,” read one text. “The fire alarm went off so we started to evacuate and then people (started) running saying there was a shooter.”

Hudson said his friend has made it safely back to San Francisco and is in contact with his family. Hudson said he’s become accustomed to hearing about such violence but has never been so close to it before.

“It just feels strange. It feels like it could really be anyone. That’s really the strangeness of it,” he said.

Calls and emails to YouTube representatives were not immediately returned.

This story has been corrected to remove a reference that patients were taken to Stanford Hospital because the hospital now says it gave incorrect information about receiving patients from the shooting.

Toronto, GTA under wind warning; brace for 90 km/h gusts

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2018

The spring storm that brought significant rain to the GTA overnight could bring powerful winds to the region on Wednesday.

A wind warning remains in effect for Toronto and the GTA.

Environment Canada says a “sharp Arctic cold front will blast east across the region” in the morning, bringing with it the potential of 90 km/h wind gusts by the afternoon.

The powerful winds could knock out power, and damage buildings and homes, the agency warns.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor says showers will continue in the morning as the winds pick up. Temperatures will fall by the afternoon, making it feel like -8 C with the wind.

The winds are expected to weaken by night, but it will be a chilly night with a windchill of -9.

Toronto man wanted in human trafficking investigation

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2018

Toronto police have issued an arrest warrant for a man wanted in human trafficking investigation.

Police allege the man met a 24-year-old woman in Toronto in January, gained her trust and lured her into the sex trade.

The victim was allegedly forced to turn over all her money to him.

Police say when she attempted to leave, he allegedly used threats and violence to force her to perform sexual services for money. She managed to leave and contact police.

Ryan William McQuinn, 26, of Toronto is wanted on several charges including trafficking, assault with a weapon and advertising another person’s sexual services.

He is described as five-foot-eight-inches with brown eyes and receding light red/brown hair.

Police are urging him to turn himself in and ask anyone with any information to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

2 injured in shooting at downtown karaoke bar

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 3rd, 2018

Two people are in hospital after an overnight shooting at a karaoke bar in Toronto’s downtown core.

Police were called to the scene near Yonge and Elm streets, just north of Dundas, around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Witnesses reported hearing at least five shots ring out in the area.

Paramedics said a man in his 20s was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A female was also taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No suspect description has been released.

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