Toronto police have arrested and charged several people after more than $1 million in cash was stolen from an establishment that refills privately owned ATMs.
The robbery took place on April 1, when two masked men allegedly forced an employee at gunpoint to give them access to the establishment, the force said. The men then allegedly assaulted another person and forced them to open multiple safes, police said.
"It's quite clear and evident that these individuals have a huge, high propensity for violence," acting Insp. Richard Harris said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Security footage released by police shows the masked men pointing a gun at the two people in the establishment and hitting at least one of them on the head with the firearm during the course of the robbery.
The footage also shows the men putting wads of cash into garbage bags, which they are then seen dragging from the establishment.
Police said the men fled in a waiting vehicle, noting that another vehicle involved in the operation drove away at the same time as well.
Police said there was a development in the case on May 17, when they found a sum of money obtained from the April 1 robbery while investigating a failed home invasion in northwest Toronto.
Investigators said Tuesday that the probe – dubbed Project Heavy Bag – resulted in the arrest of three men and four women in connection with the robbery at the establishment that refills ATMs.
Police said they are still searching for a 22-year-old Toronto man wanted in connection with that robbery.
Investigators said they seized eight handguns, ammunition, more than 300 grams of cocaine and a large amount of cash over the course of their probe.
The force noted that seven out of the eight handguns seized are prohibited in Canada and said an investigation into how they came to be in the country is underway.
"It took an extreme amount of hard work ... to bring this case to a successful conclusion," said Supt. Ron Taverner. "These firearms that have been taken off the street have possibly saved many lives."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.