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The Globe and Mail

Several suspects sought after series of violent home invasions

Toronto police are looking for several suspects in a series of violent home invasions, three of which occurred in a 12-hour time frame.

Staff Sergeant Frank Barredo said Tuesday at around 3 a.m., eight male suspects burst into 55 Brewster Cres., near Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue. The men demanded cash before attacking family members in the house, he added.

This is the third time the home has been hit with a robbery, according to a police source who asked not to be named.

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"It does not appear at this stage – and it's very early to say – to be random," said Staff Sgt. Barredo.

Although one of the female victims gave the suspects some money, police said the family was assaulted, with three males and one female punched and kicked. A Taser was alleged used on the victims and they were struck with a baseball bat.

Five of the victims were bound with plastic ties and taken to the basement, where they were robbed before the assailants fled. A couple of hours later, one of the victims managed to get to a neighbour's house to call for help.

Three of the victims were taken to hospital with cuts and bruises.

The family included three males, aged 25, 41 and 15, and three females, aged 69, 17 and 42. Neighbour Ugo Bottero said he was unsure of their surname.

About three hours after the attack at Brewster Crescent, a 34-year-old male living in an apartment at 700 Humberwood Blvd. showed up at a hospital with a stab wound, according to Staff Sergeant Andy Norrie.

The man reported he had been the victim of a home invasion, saying two suspects broke into his home and ransacked his apartment. One of them, he said, had been armed with a gun and had pistol whipped him in the face. The victim remains in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

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Staff Sgt. Norrie added there was another home invasion at 8 p.m. Monday. Two suspects forced their way into a basement apartment on Kingslake Road, assaulting one of the two residents of the apartment and fleeing with a quantity of money.

The suspects were said to be armed, but neither of the victims saw any guns. There may also have been a third suspect, who drove a dark-coloured vehicle away from the scene.

The string of brazen home invasions has left surrounding neighbours shocked and concerned about their safety.

Mr. Bottero, who lives on Brewster Crescent, said he was awakened at around 5:30 a.m. by someone banging at his door. Not knowing what was happening, he said he called the police to tell them someone was trying to get into his house. It was only later that Mr. Bottero found out his neighbours had been assaulted and they had come to his doorstep to try to get help.

"I sure worry that this thing happened, it can happen to you, you know? It was a nice family," said Mr. Bottero, who has lived next to the family for the past four or five years.

Gladys Alvaran, a resident of the apartments at 700 Humberwood Blvd, said it was the first time she had ever heard of something like that happening in her building.

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"Every time I come in, everything is quiet," she said, adding she would definitely be more careful about coming and going in the building after learning about the home invasion.

Staff Sgt. Norrie could not say whether any of the home invasions were connected, but he said police were continuing to investigate.

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