Camera-shy thieves get away, for now

Beach Metro News reported on Twitter on Jan. 1 about a few cars that had been broken into in a parking lot at Ashbridges Bay Park, near the boat launch area. The following day, the alleged thieves were back. Only this time, they did not go unnoticed.

Police investigate the scene of a crash at Lakeshore and Coxwell after a suspected stolen van ran through a red light. The suspects fled on foot and are still at large. PHOTO: Phil Lameira / Beach Metro News
Police investigate the scene of a crash at Lakeshore and Coxwell after a suspected stolen van ran through a red light. The suspects fled on foot and are still at large. PHOTO: Phil Lameira / Beach Metro News

At approximately noon on Jan. 2, Kevin Kelly and Shivaun Hearne drove into the same parking lot to take their yellow lab retriever, Alice, for a run in the park. As Kelly and Hearne walked away from the lot, a couple of dogs started barking and a car alarm went off. Curious, Kelly walked back to see what all the commotion was about.

“I thought there were dogs fighting and was concerned about it. I walked back and as I got over the hill I saw my passenger window had been smashed,” said Kelly.

As he approached his vehicle, he noticed a minivan slowly driving away from the lot towards Lakeshore Boulevard.

“So I figured, that’s who did it. Those guys broke into the car,” he said, explaining that there were only a few vehicles in the lot at the time.

Without hesitating, Kelly got in his car and drove after the van. His instinct told him he should snap photos of the licence plate on his phone, which he did. He then pulled up next to the van at the Coxwell and Lakeshore intersection and attempted to photograph the driver of the van.

That’s when the perps panicked and drove off through a red light. What happened next was nothing short of a scene in an action movie.

“They smashed into a car in the middle of the intersection, then took off and ran through the field. One of them had a gym bag with him,” he said.

Luckily, the driver of the other vehicle was uninjured, but the damage to his car was extensive.

55 Division Staff Sergeant David Simpkins said the van was believed to have been stolen.

Hearne believes the thieves were sitting in the parking lot just waiting for people to walk away from their vehicles.

“They must have seen me putting my purse in the back. That’s why they broke in,” she said.

Simpkins says the suspects are still at large but hopes they’ll be arrested soon based on witness descriptions.

Kelly described the alleged thieves as males in their 40s, perhaps of Eastern European descent.

“If people have valuables in the car, lock them up out of view as to reduce the chances of anything being stolen out of your car,” advises Simpkins.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything is asked to contact 55 Division at 416-808-5500, or through the contact info in the Police Beat, above.

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