'Compelled to assist:' off-duty cop stabbed trying to prevent theft at Scarborough Best Buy; video of suspects released
Published Wednesday, December 6, 2023 1:53PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 6, 2023 9:24PM EST
Toronto police have released video of four suspects wanted in connection with the stabbing of an off-duty officer who tried to stop them during a theft at an electronics store in Scarborough Wednesday morning.
The video captured from a dashcam shows the suspects hauling a big box out of the store and loading it into the back of a blue Toyota Sienna van. All four get in the vehicle, leaving the rear door open, and hurriedly drive away.
The footage was shared by police Wednesday evening, hours after the incident, which occurred at a Best Buy on Progress Avenue near McCowan Road at around 11:45 a.m.
Police said the suspects, three men and a woman, were attempting to take an item from the store when the officer “intervened.”
The officer was then stabbed by one of the suspects just outside the main entrance to the store, police said.
The suspects fled the scene and were last seen headed westbound along Highway 401.
“The officer was stabbed in the wrist. Fortunately, paramedics responded very quickly and were able to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The officer is currently in stable condition but is going to require surgery at a later time,” Insp. Chris McCann told reporters at the scene.
“This was an off-duty police officer, and I can only imagine that he felt compelled to assist when he saw what was happening, but the message, which is really important to the general public, is their safety is paramount, so please don’t get involved.”
McCann said that police are continuing to investigate and are interested in speaking with anyone who may have witnessed what transpired or possesses any additional dash camera footage.
On Wednesday evening, police also released images of the suspects with limited descriptions.
The first suspect is described as male, about six feet tall, with a medium build. He was last seen wearing black pants and boots.
The second suspect is described as a male wearing a black mask, blue jeans and a black hoodie.
The third suspect is described as a female with long dark hair. She was last seen wearing grey cargo pants and a camo jacket.
The fourth suspect is male and had a white-hooded jacket on and dark pants
ORGANIZED RETAIL ROBBERIES ON THE RISE
Speaking with CP24 on Wednesday afternoon, Sean Sportun, chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers, said that while he can’t speak to this specific investigation or what may have led up to two recent retail robbery incidents in the city – one on Tuesday night at the Cartier store at Yorkdale Mall and today’s retail robbery in Scarborough – the trend of organized retail crime has spiked in the GTA since the start of this year.
Sportun said that these kinds of incidents are also becoming more violent and that they’re organized as suspects are carrying lists and often have a pre-set plan of action.
He went on to say that Toronto Crime Stoppers, in turn, has held a number of campaigns on this issue in an effort to “bring that awareness to the community of if you see something you should say something.”
Sportun also urged people to become good witnesses, to take video and photos, if possible, and get license plate numbers, if possible, and share that information with the police or Crime Stoppers anonymously while they “actively (work to) locate and arrest these individuals that are out there causing mayhem in our community.”