2nd teen charged after failed North York carjacking as police say incidents on the rise
Boy was arrested and released last week, before being arrested again
A second teen boy is now facing charges after a failed carjacking last week where an accused crashed the vehicle he was allegedly trying to steal while attempting to drive it out of a parking lot.
Police say it happened on May 11, in the Millwick Drive and Islington Avenue area. Investigators say the victim was standing outside his Jeep Wrangler when three teens approached him and one pulled a gun before demanding the keys.
As the keys were already in the Jeep, the boy who was armed got in and attempted to drive off, police say — but he then drove into a light pole, before crashing as he turned onto the street. All three teens then ran off, police say.
Officers arrived and were able to track down the three teens and arrest them. They also found a replica handgun inside the Jeep, police say.
A 15-year-old boy was charged at the time with robbery with a firearm and disguise with intent, while the other two — a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy — were released unconditionally. Their names cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Now, the 17-year-old boy has also been arrested and is facing the same charges as the first boy, police said in a news release Wednesday.
Toronto police spokesperson Connie Osborne told CBC News the teen was arrested Monday "following further review of the evidence."
Carjackings on the rise
The arrests come as police say carjacking numbers are up in the city this year. The issue drew national attention after Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner was carjacked outside a movie theatre on Monday.
Osborne said as of now, police are only alleging the 17-year-old is responsible for the one incident last week, but they are continuing to investigate.
At a news conference Tuesday, Insp. Rich Harris told reporters that Toronto police have seen 60 carjackings already in the city this year, compared to 59 in all of 2021.
"These are nearly all sold for profit," he said, adding that as of Tuesday, police have made 20 carjacking arrests this year.
He also said there is usually a level of sophistication with these types of crimes in the city, with some stolen vehicles ending up being shipped overseas.
At a Toronto Police Service board meeting earlier this year, the service reported that auto thefts were up 58 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and up another 8 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.
Variety of vehicle types targeted
In 2021, about 80,000 vehicles were stolen across Canada, a one per cent increase from the previous year, according to Equite Association, an organization formed from the investigative branch of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and CANATICS, which analyzes auto thefts across the country.
The big targets were cars with push-button ignition systems, which are the vast majority of vehicles on the road, officials said. High-end cars were also targeted, but so too were reliable, abundant vehicles like Honda CR-Vs and Civics.
The Lexus RX350, the 2019-2017 models, were the top three stolen cars in Ontario in 2021, Equite said.
In Toronto, the Honda CR-V was the top car stolen last year, with 654 nabbed, followed by the Lexus RX350, with 418 taken. Range Rovers and Toyota Highlanders were also among the most stolen.
Police are advising all drivers to be aware of their surroundings and to call 911 if they suspect they are being followed.
With files from The Canadian Press