3 arrested, including teen, after 'brazen' Toronto carjackings

Toronto police released dash camera footage showing the moment a driver of a stolen BMW accelerated up a hill and and collided with a police car as officers attempted arrests on Friday evening. Three people, including one teenager, have been arrested in a carjacking investigation, police said in a news conference on Tuesday.  (Toronto Police Service - image credit)

Three people, including a 17 year old, are facing charges in connection with two carjackings in the city last week, including one incident in which the victim was run over with their own car, Toronto police say.

Officers faced "exceptional danger" when the driver of one of the stolen vehicles hit a police car as they made the arrests on Friday evening, said 31 Division Supt. Andy Singh, during a news conference Tuesday.

Police identified two stolen cars — a blue BMW X5 and white Lamborghini Urus — around Islington Avenue and Steeles Avenue W., he said. Officers used an automatic license plate reader to determine the cars were stolen.

A 21-year-old from Mississauga, a 19-year-old from Oakville and a 17-year-old from Oshawa were arrested on Friday, according to a police news release issued on Tuesday. They face a total of 54 charges.

The three accused were entering the BMW when officers attempted to make the arrest, Singh said. The driver then "recklessly reversed up a hill" and hit a police car in an attempt to avoid arrest, he said.

Singh said the driver showed "nothing short of absolute disregard of any lives" while trying to get away. Officers eventually smashed the car windows and Tasered some of the suspects after they did not comply, he said.

Over $18,000 and three loaded handguns were also seized, police said. The group did not draw their guns at officers but the weapons were "readily accessible," Singh said.

The BMW was initially carjacked on April 6 in the Ellesmere and Kennedy road area, according to police. The victim was in a parking lot when three male suspects demanded the car keys.

One suspect pointed a firearm at the victim, who was unhurt, police said.

The Lamborghini, meanwhile, was stolen on April 11 at a gas station in the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue area, police said. In that instance, four male suspects repeatedly assaulted a victim before taking their keys.

During the news conference, Singh said the victim was run over by their own car as the suspects fled. The victim was taken to hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries.

Toronto police inspector Joseph Matys called the carjackings "very brazen," as the suspects had remained in Toronto with both stolen cars for a week after the carjackings.

Many people who commit car theft have ties to crime rings and work as a group, Singh said.

"These are the systems that we're trying to dismantle and break from an enforcement standpoint," he said.

Matys said adults often exploit youth in carjackings due to the different sentencing standards for those who are under 18.

"But then there's also youth who believe that this is easy money and they're in it for themselves," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or leave an anonymous tip with Crimestoppers.