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Public’s help sought in 3 vicious home invasions

Toronto police are asking for the public’s help in nabbing the suspects responsible for three home invasions in one week, including one in which a child’s life was threatened.

Staff Insp. Mike Earl also warned residents to contact police if they see strangers wandering in their backyards or those of their neighbours.

“For three home invasions in a week where the bandits are actually zip-tying and duct-taping the victims, to me, that’s very unusual, and so we wanted to bring it to the public’s attention to make sure they’re aware of what’s going on around them,” he said.

The unrelated crimes happened during the day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The first happened last Friday morning near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue East, the second one happened on Sunday afternoon near Neilson Road and Sheppard and the third occurred early Tuesday afternoon in the Eglinton Avenue East and Markham Road area.

In the Friday incident, a 47-year-old woman let two men in overalls pretending to be from a gas company enter her home after they indicated there was a smell of gas. The men then pulled out a firearm and a Taser and zip-tied the woman and her 47-year-old husband before ransacking the place and stealing some jewelry, cash and a 2010 grey BMW X3 with the licence plate AJJ 624.

The victims weren’t injured but they were tied up for a significant amount of time before the police arrived, Earl said.

In the second incident, the two armed intruders entered a residence near Neilson and Sheppard at 3 p.m. Sunday through a sliding door and bound a couple and their three-year-old child with duct tape. They threatened to kill the youngster if their demands weren’t met.

The intruders in that case are described as white and between 25 and 35 years old. One was about six-foot-two, with short black hair and was last seen wearing a light grey track suit and a black baseball hat. The second man is about five-foot-five and was wearing a black ski mask. Both suspects wore latex gloves and masks that concealed their face.

In the third robbery, three suspects entered a highrise building at 25 Cougar Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. They tied up a 64-year-old grandmother and her 22-year-old grandson. The suspects spent about an hour looking for jewelry and cash. One of them was caught on security video.

The detective believes they were random home invasions, and have no reason to believe they’re connected. Furthermore, “These victims don’t have any reason to be targeted,” he said.

The holdup squad investigates all home invasions involving weapons, and so far this year there have been 53, unchanged from the same time a year ago, he said.

Click here for more details of the crimes.