Montreal police have arrested seven West Island teens on bullying-related charges after a two-month investigation.
The suspects — all between 16 and 18 years of age — face charges including robbery, armed assault, intimidation and assault causing bodily harm.
The teens were arrested yesterday in Pierrefonds—Roxboro and Île-Bizard—Sainte-Geneviève.
"They were rowdy with other young people, trying to steal their money or other items. We know also they went to different parties, invited themselves to those parties to start a brawl or stuff like that to intimidate other young people," said Raphael Bergeron with the Montreal police, adding that the victims were also the same ages.
Details in a police news release say that since mid-September suspects terrorized young people, approaching victims in public places to steal their money, sometimes beating up their targets or threatening them with a knife.
The suspects allegedly also sent threatening messages to intimidate victims.
Three of the suspects are known to police for past crimes including home invasion and drug dealing.
Two of the seven suspects arrested appeared this morning in youth court, while the other five were released on bail.
Zero tolerance for bullying
The Montreal police force said the charges the teenagers face are serious.
"The Montreal police force does not tolerate this behaviour, and no one should undergo this kind of treatment. The laws have been toughening up on this type of crime — be it with social media or direct physical contact. Bullying has been a factor and an issue for many years," said Montreal police spokeswoman Lynn Duncan.
In June 2012, Quebec enacted Bill 56 to prevent and combat bullying in schools.
The arrests are the result of a two-month investigation, following complaints from young people living in Île-Bizard.
Police said the investigation continues.
"We invite any youths or parents of youths who think their child might have been victim of intimidation or robbery to please communicate this information, because it still is an ongoing investigation. We can put further complaints in to the court," said Duncan.
Victims can call Info-Crime at 393-1133.