Burkas worn by robbers in $500K Toronto jewelry store heist
Stolen jewelry could have been offered to retailers, pawn shops, individuals online, police say
Two men appear to have worn burkas in a bid to disguise their identities during a recent robbery at a Toronto jewelry store.
Toronto police released footage Wednesday of the two suspects entering Mona Clara Jewellers at 808 York Mills Rd., near Leslie Street, on the morning of Oct. 14.
The men took control of the store.
A person inside the store was forced to open a display case at gunpoint, police say.
Police say the men left the store within five minutes after arriving.
Staff Insp. Mike Earl said the suspects scooped up $500,000 worth of merchandise.
"It's our belief that with this amount of jewelry that somebody may have purchased large quantities of jewelry shortly after the robbery. That may point us in the right direction," he said during a news conference on Wednesday.
Earl said it's possible that stolen jewelry could have been offered to retailers, pawn shops or even to individuals online.
The first suspect is described as:
- A five-foot-11 black male.
- Wearing a black burka that had "shiny details on both arms," black gloves and men’s boots.
- Having had a handgun.
Fewer details are available about the second suspect, who was:
- Wearing a black burka and boots.
It's not the first time robbers have used burkas as a disguise, but Earl said this heist was notable.
"We've had bank robberies that happened years ago where they wore burka disguises, but this is the first one of this nature that I've seen in Toronto where they're actually having two individuals … going into a jewelry store on a busy morning in a busy plaza like this," he said.
Nonetheless, Earl said identification poses a difficulty for investigators.
"It's another way of disguising yourself — you know, we've seen balaclavas and ski masks, and we've seen scarves and bandanas, it's just another way of disguising yourself to try to prevent identification during a robbery," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 416-808-7350.
Tips can also be passed on anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.
- On mobile? Click here to view the video released by police.