Peel police are looking for four thieves who broke into a Mississauga store in a daylight robbery then smashed the front window with an axe to get out after the owner locked them inside.
The four individuals allegedly took between $12,000 to $15,000 worth of merchandise on Friday at about 5 p.m., according to James Latini, owner of Pure10, a store that sells sneakers, street wear and designer items. The store is located on Lakeshore Road East near Hurontario Street in the city’s Port Credit neighbourhood.
Security camera video captured the entire incident. Police say no one was injured and no one has been arrested.
Instead of keeping the door open, Latini said he keeps the door locked and lets customers into the store after they knock.
One masked customer came to the door on Friday, and as soon as Latini unlocked it, three other masked people came running in and pushed him out of the way. The thieves, who appeared to be teenagers, immediately started grabbing clothing off the racks, he said.
“First thing that went through my mind is, I’ve got to lock these guys inside, right? It’s four against one. I’m not gonna get hurt over some clothes, right?” Latini told CBC Toronto on Monday.
Latini went outside the store and locked them inside. Then he ran next door to call the police.
Video shows thieves smashing window, running away
The thieves discovered they could not get out and one pulled out an axe to smash the front window. The video shows them jumping out of the broken window, one by one, with handfuls of clothing.
Once all of them got out, they ran to a nearby getaway car with the piles of clothing, Latini said.
“Bystanders actually recorded the car and got the licence plate, but unfortunately the car was stolen,” he said.
Last week, Latini said there was a robbery attempt at Pure10 but he doesn’t believe it was the work of the same group of people. Security cameras at the back of the store captured masked individuals who pulled up in a white van and tried to use a crowbar to break in when the store was closed.
“From what we know, it was a different crew that came, tried to come through our back door, but thankfully, they were unsuccessful,” he said.
Lucie Zima, owner of Zest for Living, a gift shop next door, said store owners in the area are now feeling on edge.
“We’re in a little bit of shock,” she said.
“I’m still in disbelief, for something this brazen to happen in daylight, in a community that doesn’t normally have this kind of thing happen.”
Coun. Stephen Dasko, who represents the area, said the neighbourhood is one of the safest in Mississauga. He said the robbery is “absolutely shocking” and it has shaken the neighbourhood.
“We’re not used to this and we never want to get used to this,” he said.
The solution is “having more of a police presence in the neighborhood, and also just being vigilant, and having all of our store owners be vigilant as well,” he said.
Police said its robbery bureau is continuing to investigate.
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