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Armed robbery at Etobicoke school part of ‘huge’ crime spree

Police have arrested 10 suspects after a crime spree which culminated with an armed robbery and shooting at an Etobicoke high school on Thursday.

Staff Insp. Mike Earl said Friday he is confident police have arrested the man who fired a shot during an armed robbery at Thistletown Collegiate Institute, and all together the suspects face 21 robbery-related offences.

Police had warrants to search 11 addresses and may be searching others and making more arrests, he added.

It’s alleged on Thursday afternoon, four men in their 20s, pulled into the Thistletown parking lot in a stolen Toyota and robbed students at gunpoint.

The suspects are accused of taking cellphones from two female students just outside of a school entrance. The thieves then targeted a male student who was shot at as he ran away. The bullet missed the teen and hit a parked car.

Earl said the suspects went on to rob a wireless store on Finch Avenue West and a convenience store on Weston Road that afternoon.

The “greed-related” crime spree started in Peel region on Jan. 8 and became more violent as time passed. Earl said the suspects robbed convenience stores, gas stations, pizza delivery workers, “anything that moved” in the  west end of the GTA. They usually stole money, but also took cigarettes, cellphones and lottery tickets.

“These robberies, there’s no doubt, would have got even worse if we did not apprehend these individuals as the escalation was continuing to increase throughout the west end of the city,” Earl said.

The suspects, whose names haven’t been disclosed, will appear in an Old City Hall court on Saturday.