Seven armed carjackings in Ajax, Ont. in just over a month are all "related," Durham Regional Police say.
Const. George Tudos, spokesperson for the Durham Regional Police Service, said Monday that a handgun was used in a majority of the seven incidents. The latest victim was hit in the face with a gun.
Some of the carjackings and attempted carjackings occurred on private driveways near homes. Most happened at night or in the early morning. The first occurred on Oct. 12.
"This is over the span of a month now that we've had seven within the north Ajax area. Obviously, it's a concern to us and a priority," Tudos said. "We are trying to investigate these to try to identify the suspects."
Tudos said most occurred when drivers were getting into or out of their vehicles. Two occurred when drivers were sitting alone inside, looking at their cell phones or texting.
Police have released a description of two men believed responsible. They are described as black men in their early-to-mid-20s, both having thin builds and both about six feet tall.
"In each of these incidents, they tried to disguise their appearance by either wearing a mask, or something over their heads, or dark clothing. The clothing obviously varies in all of these incidences, but in the majority of time, their faces are covered," Tudos said.
He would not confirm if police have obtained security camera images of the suspects.
'Lock your doors'
Residents are urged to be on guard, he said.
"We're just advising people, if they are travelling by themselves late at night, that you be vigilant, you be aware of your surroundings," he said.
"Lock your doors. If stepping out of your vehicle, keep your keys in your hands and have them ready. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious around your property. If anything that you feel is out of the ordinary, contact 911."
In three of the incidents, the armed men approached the victims, got into their vehicles, demanded keys and personal property and forced the victims at gunpoint to drive them to banks or ATMs.
The victims were then let out and the vehicles abandoned a short time later.
"The banks have been within the area of north Ajax," Tudos said. "The suspects are trying to get whatever they can at this point."
According to a police news release, in the most recent incident on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., a man, 56, got into his vehicle in the Rossland Road and Audley Road area in Ajax.
He was approached by two men. One sat in the passenger seat while the other sat behind the man.
The two men demanded the man hand over his wallet and drive them to a bank. The man refused, he was hit in the face with a gun and then punched in the head. He honked on his horn for help.
The two men fled. The man suffered serious facial injuries and was taken to hospital, where he was treated and released.
In this incident, police described the first man as having a deep voice and wearing grey pants and a grey or white hooded shirt. He also had a handgun. The second man was wearing a dark baseball hat.
"What we suggest is that you comply with the demands. We just want people to be safe. Your life and safety is a priority," Tudos said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Det. Carter of West Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 2562.