Jew­ellery store heist foiled in For­est Hill

Po­lice find pel­let gun on sus­pects ac­cused in rob­bery at­tempt

North Toronto Post - - News - — Sa­man­tha Peksa

Two men were ar­rested af­ter at­tempt­ing to rob a jew­ellery store on Eglin­ton Av­enue West near Av­enue Road last month.

Varouj Tabakian has owned and op­er­ated Jew­ellery by Varouj at 515 Eglin­ton Ave. W. for 22 years and said he is very cau­tious about who he lets en­ter his store. To gain ac­cess, pa­trons must ring a bell be­fore be­ing buzzed in by ei­ther him­self or an em­ployee.

But when a man tried to en­ter the shop at 4:15 p.m. on April 8, Tabakian would not open his doors to him. “Usu­ally, we are very se­lec­tive. I didn’t like the way he looked. I told him no,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Tabakian, the man then tried to en­ter the shop us­ing force. He re­turned with another man, and one of them pro­ceeded to cover his face and shake the door.

“I de­cided to call 911, and we pushed our panic but­tons,” said Tabakian. “I was afraid, [I thought] maybe he does have a gun in his pocket.”

Con­sta­ble Craig Bris­ter, spokesper­son for the Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice (TPS), said two male sus­pects, 21 and 22 years old, were ar­rested and charged with rob­bery and use of an im­i­ta­tion firearm dur­ing com­mis­sion of an of­fence. A black pel­let gun was found in their pos­ses­sion. One man was also charged with dis­guise with in­tent.

Ac­cord­ing to She­liza Es­mail, of the Eglin­ton Way busi­ness im­prove­ment area (BIA), pa­trons din­ing at Duc­kee were asked to re­main in­side the restau­rant for three hours that night.

“The po­lice had closed down the street for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and they asked ev­ery­one to re­main in­side,” she said.

There was ini­tially some con­fu­sion as to where the at­tempted rob­bery had ac­tu­ally taken place. Es­mail said some local res­i­dents as­sumed the rob­bery oc­curred at Canna Clinic, the mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary a few doors down from Varouj, as it was the tar­get of another armed rob­bery ear­lier this year.

How­ever, Bris­ter said the TPS did not in­clude Canna Clinic any­where in their re­port.

Tabakian said he still blames the dis­pen­sary for the kind of peo­ple it is at­tract­ing to the neigh­bour­hood.

Michael McLel­lan, the spokesper­son for the Toronto Dis­pen­saries Coali­tion, dis­agreed with the in­sin­u­a­tion.

“Dis­pen­saries bring ad­di­tional foot traf­fic to a shop­ping area and peo­ple from all walks of life with dis­pos­able in­come,” he said. “It would seem to be a stretch to blame a nearby store, whether a dis­pen­sary or another type of busi­ness, for a store be­ing robbed.”

Jew­ellery by Varouj, at 515 Eglin­ton Ave. W., is lo­cated a few doors east of the mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary

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