Toronto

'I was very nervous': Teen describes heart-pounding moment when he was mugged by 4 people

A teenager has described a frightening encounter with a group of robbers earlier this month in the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue East area. Police say a number of people have been swarmed and robbed in the neighbourhood and the local city councillor is telling residents to stay inside at night.

Oct. 11 incident in North York has left his son ‘rattled,’ father says

A 15-year-old boy says he had just left McDonald's on Avenue Road, north of Lawrence Avenue West on Friday, Oct. 11 when he was mugged by four males. CBC News is not revealing his identity out of concern for his safety. (Guillaume Cottin/CBC)

What was supposed to be a fun night out with friends turned into a scary night for a North York teenager, and has left residents of one community on high alert.

The teen said he had just left McDonald's on Avenue Road north of Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 11 when he was mugged by four males.

"As soon as they came up to me, I [thought] they could have weapons, they could try and beat me up," he told CBC Toronto.

"I kind of like just gave them everything, do what they said because I didn't really want to get hurt," he added.

"I'd rather lose maybe some valuable items like a phone and stuff than risk me getting hurt."

CBC News has agreed not to identify the 15-year-old over concerns for his safety since a police investigation is ongoing. 

Toronto police told CBC News that teenagers are being swarmed in a small radius in North York. The attackers are demanding their phones, shoes and other valuables. (Guillaume Cottin/CBC)

The boy said the robbers took his phone and ordered him to turn over his password.

They also took his backpack, which contained speakers, ear pods and some items of clothing.

He said one of them was also gripping a black object.

"I was very nervous. I wasn't like loud or yelling but I wasn't really calm. My heart was beating fast and I was kind of just like, 'I've got to do what they say,'" the boy said.

"I didn't really think that they were going to try and injure me as long as I did what they said, but I was like, 'This is a scary moment, I'm going to try and wiggle my way out of this.'"

Following the robbery, the boy borrowed someone's phone and immediately called his father and the police.

His father, who also spoke to CBC News, said he was able to change his son's password, lock the phone, and started a location trace using an app called Find My iPhone.

"It was pretty disturbing. I was concerned about his safety," the father said.

"Once we knew that he was safe, we were just really worried about what impact it would have on him and whether they'd catch the guys."

The man said while his son was not hurt physically, he's rattled.

"He hasn't been back to the place that it happened. He doesn't want to hang around that neighbourhood, He's a little bit worried about school. He's worried about the guys that did it seeing him on the street somewhere," the father said.

"So, everyone's not fine. No one's hurt but everybody is a little rattled."

Meanwhile, Toronto police told CBC News that teenagers are being swarmed in a small radius in North York. The attackers are demanding their phones, shoes and other valuables.

They say there have been three other very similar robberies in an eight-day period. In all of them, six to 10 people, wearing masks, and armed with a knife, approached groups of teens after they were leaving the McDonald's at 1890 Avenue Rd. north of Lawrence Avenue West.

Residents say there have been more robberies that have not been reported to police, and Mike Colle, who represents their ward, says several concerned parents have contacted him.

He is urging residents to avoid going out late at night and especially in the Avenue Road and Lawrence area.

"Don't go out until we arrest these thugs. It is a very serious situation because [these are] armed robbers with knives and anything could happen," Colle told CBC News.

"Be very careful when you leave an establishment that you could be followed."

Colle said the police's major crime unit is involved as well as undercover officers.

"The police are taking it very seriously. The police are in full force with the community response unit. Even Toronto's major crime unit is fully deployed here trying to catch these thugs that are perpetrating these robberies."

With files from Angelina King

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