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Police investigating after 'unknown substance' sprayed in GTA movie theatres

Three different GTA police forces say they are investigating after a substance was sprayed inside movie theatres this week. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)
Three different GTA police forces say they are investigating after a substance was sprayed inside movie theatres this week. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)

Officers with three different Greater Toronto Area police forces say they are investigating after some sort of substance was sprayed inside separate movie theatres this week, forcing evacuations.

One such incident happened around 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday at a cinema complex in the area of Highway 7 and Highway 400 in Vaughan, York Regional Police said in a news release.

Numerous movie-goers started coughing after two men in masks and hoods sprayed an "unknown, aerosol-based, irritating substance into the air" in a theatre, police said.

Around 200 people were inside at the time. Emergency crews were called in and the theatre was evacuated, while several people were treated for exposure to the substance, according to the news release.

No serious injuries were reported, and the two suspects took off before police arrived, investigators said. An Indian Hindi-language film was playing at the time, according to police.

Police say the first suspect was a Black man with a light skin tone, standing around five feet, ten inches tall and with a medium build. He was wearing a black sweater, a black jacket with a white logo, dark pants with a white stripe and a black toque with a white logo on the front, alongside a black medical mask.

The second man is described as brown with a light skin tone, standing about five feet, eight inches tall and with a medium build. He was wearing a black sweater with a red logo above white text on the front, with dark pants, brown boots and a black mask.

York police released this security camera image of the men they are trying to track down. (York Regional Police)

York police say they are liaising with both Peel and Toronto police about similar incidents that happened this week.

Peel police confirmed in a statement to CBC News that officers were called to a theatre in the area of Great Lakes Drive and Bovaird Drive in Brampton on Tuesday, after getting reports of some sort of substance sprayed on the premises.

Officers evacuated the building, and there were no reports of any serious injuries. No arrests have been made, police say.

"It is unknown at this time if any other incidents are connected but our investigators are aware of those incidents that took place in York Region and Toronto," the statement reads.

Toronto police told CBC News that officers similarly got a call Tuesday night about someone setting off a "stink bomb" in a theatre at Scarborough Town Centre.

The theatre was evacuated and no injuries were reported, police said.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is being asked to contact police.