Hate-motivated charges laid after more than $140K worth of damage sustained to Toronto church, nearby businesses

TORONTO — Hate-motivated charges have been laid after an historic Toronto church and several nearby businesses sustained more than $140,000 worth of damage.

According to police, dozens of “hate-motivated mischief incidents” occurred between Dec. 4, 2020 and March 5, 2021 in the area of Bathurst Street and Bloor Street West.

During that period, investigators said exterior storefront windows of several businesses were shattered and stained glass windows of a more than 100-year-old church were smashed on four separate occasions.

“The total cumulative damage to all properties is estimated to be in excess of $140,000,” the Toronto Police Service said in a news release issued on Thursday.

An arrest in the case was made on Wednesday after investigators with 14 Division were able to identify a suspect believed to be responsible for all occurrences, the news release said.

Toronto resident Ives-Hipolth Vargas, 39, now faces 13 criminal charges, including two counts of mischief to property over $5,000, seven counts of mischief to property under $5,000 and four counts of hate-motivated mischief relating to religious property.

“The hate-motivated charges were laid in consultation with the Hate Crime Unit,” investigators said.

“If it is alleged a criminal offence was committed, such as assault or mischief, and it is believed to have been motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, the officer-in-charge will consult with the Crown. If a person is charged and convicted of the offence, the Judge will take into consideration hate as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence.”

Police added that anyone with further information regarding this investigation is asked to contact officers at 416-808-1400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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