A group of teenage boys has been charged after allegedly stealing nearly $1.3 million worth of gold and silver from a precious metals store in downtown Toronto last month.
York Regional Police say three masked teens robbed the Bloor Street store at gunpoint on Dec. 10, 2022 and fled to a nearby vehicle, where a fourth teen was waiting.
Officers with the force were in the area at the time as part of an ongoing investigation into the suspects and moved to "contain" the vehicle, which was later found to be stolen.
The suspects allegedly tried to take off on foot, but were soon arrested.
The gold and silver, valued at $1,295,000, has since been returned to the precious metals dealer, police say. You can see some of what was recovered in this video shared by York Regional Police on YouTube:
Two 15-year-olds and two 17-year-olds now face a total of 40 charges including robbery with a firearm, disguise with intent, possession of a loaded restricted firearm, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and failure to comply with a judicial release order.
Investigators said in a news release they believe the suspects are part of a "crime group" involved in a series of armed robberies at pharmacies, currency-conversion businesses and precious metals stores since November.
One of the 17-year-olds is also charged in seven other commercial robberies across the Greater Toronto Area, and one of the 15-year-olds is charged in two of those incidents.
The accused cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
As for what to do to keep safe if confronted by thieves, police say it's a good idea to have a security system and video surveillance inside and outside your property.
"Comply with the demands of the robbers," Sgt. Clint Whitney told CBC News. "The best thing to do is to try to remain calm, to do what they say, don't put yourself in any physical harm."
Then, contact police as soon as possible, he said.
"Let us interact with the criminals."