Twenty-two young men and boys face nearly 300 charges related to a violent cell-phone robbery ring operating across the GTA.
Police allege this group, called the Matrix Bandits, got together through social media and hit 32 different cell phone stores over the last four months.
“Between two and five males would enter the cellphone store, They would control the employees and the patrons using weapons, verbal threats and sometimes they would restrain their victims with zip ties,” Inspector Lauren Pogue said.
Employees would be ordered to fill gym bags with cellphones and the suspects would leave in stolen vehicles.
Pogue, heads the Toronto police’s hold-up squad, described one particularly disturbing case.
‘As the elderly customer tried to leave, the first suspect began striking her on the lower part of her body numerous times, shoving her to the ground and then dragging her to the back of the store by her arm, continuing to assault her along the way.”
Police have released security camera video of that attack and are trying to identify the two men in it. The incident happened at a cellphone store located in the Lawrence Avenue West and Allen Road area on Feb 11.
The attack is one of the nine cases that remain unsolved.
Warning: Security footage in the videos below may be disturbing to some viewers.
Police have laid 278 charges against the suspects, who range in age from 15 to 17 and men as old as 25.
The robberies occurred all over the GTA, including Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton and Halton.