Carjackings like the one that resulted in the theft of Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner’s Range Rover this week are becoming all too common in the GTA, according to police.
York Regional Police described carjackings as an “emerging crime trend” that has more than doubled since 2019.
Three bandits carjacked Marner’s vehicle at gunpoint at 7:46 p.m. on Monday at a movie theatre at The Queensway and Islington Ave., according to police.
York police officers organized a community engagement session on Instagram on Tuesday to address public concerns.
“Criminals are looking for the opportunity to take the most valuable vehicles they can find, as quickly and easily as possible, to then sell for profit,” York police said.
Investigators there say more than 65% of incidents in 2022 have been solved quickly with arrests made and charges laid.
But they added that “thieves are constantly developing new methods to accomplish these crimes.”
A crush of carjackings appears to have surged in recent days and weeks.
Toronto Police said officers made a second arrest late Monday in a carjacking of a man in his late 70s, who was robbed of a Jeep Wrangler, near Millwick Dr. and Islington Ave., on May 11 as the victim was standing outside his Jeep in a parking lot.
Two people – including a 15-year-old boy — have been charged in that case in which three people fled on foot after the vehicle crashed not long after the theft.
In another incident, three suspects were charged the day after a carjacking near Finch and Midland Aves. on April 20.
Police say a victim was forced at gunpoint to hand over a Mercedes G Wagon in a parking lot.
With help from OPP, and York Regional Police and its helicopter, investigators tracked the stolen vehicle which had a GPS device.
Nickay Anthony Smythe, 24, of Ajax; Mohamed Jama, 21, of Toronto; and Kiemar Thompson-Ennis, 18, of Toronto, face charges, including robbery with a firearm and possession of property obtained by crime.
Officers found a replica handgun during the arrest.
Halton Regional Police officers are still seeking three suspects after an Oakville carjacking March 30.
The victim was approached by the suspects in his garage in the area of Bridge Rd. and Lees Lane.
One of the suspects was armed with a handgun and fired rounds towards the residence.
The victim suffered minor injuries during the incident.
The suspects — who police describe as three black males in their early 20s — fled in a stolen Audi, along with a dark-coloured Porsche SUV.
“The suspects are considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached,” Halton police have said.