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Three facing charges in Conestoga Mall robbery, one suspect fled in stolen vehicle

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Waterloo regional police say they’ve arrested three people and one person was taken to hospital following an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.

According to police, they were called to a jewelry store at around 4 p.m. Thursday after receiving several reports of an armed robbery in the mall.

Witnesses told CTV News that they saw the incident happen at Raffi Jewellers. A viewer also shared a video which appears to show at least two people wearing all black walking around and grabbing items from the glass cases.

Still from a cellphone video of an alleged robbery at Waterloo's Conestoga Mall. (Feb. 2, 2023)

"Officers quickly arrived in the area of Conestoga Mall and made three arrests," said Const. Brad Hickey with the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS). "Officers went inside the mall and they did evacuate the mall. The reason for that is we want to ensure the safety of all individuals inside the mall and we also want to ensure there is no outstanding suspects in the mall."

Initially there were reports of gunshots inside the mall but, according to a media release by WRPS, there was no evidence of shots fired. Police believe that it was the sound of breaking glass. 

MALL ROBBERY AND ARRESTS

Police said four male suspects entered the store with hammers and batons and allegedly smashed display cases and stole merchandise.

As the suspects fled the store, one was arrested by a security guard while the other three ran away.

Once officers arrived on scene, they took over the arrest made by the security guard.

The guard suffered physical injuries during the incident and was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said the two other suspects ran across King Street North to an industrial area, where they were later arrested by officers.

SEARCH FOR A SUSPECT

A fourth suspect allegedly entered a vehicle in the mall parking lot which police said was occupied by a family. The driver of the vehicle and their young child were able to exit the vehicle before the male suspect stole it and fled the area.

That vehicle, described as a grey Honda HRV, was last seen travelling south on King Street North in Waterloo.

Police said the suspect still at large as of Friday morning, and is desrcibed as a Black man in his late 20s to early 30s, around 5'10" and roughly 230 pounds. He is described as having long curly hair tied back in a bun, and a short beard.

A Waterloo regional police officer investigates an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, Ont. on Feb. 2, 2023. (CTV Kitchener)

INVESTIGATION AND CHARGES

Police said the three suspects, ages 20, 21, and 24, and all from the Greater Toronto Area, were arrested and charged with the following:

  • Robbery with a weapon
  • Disguise with intent
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000

All three men are being held for a bail hearing.

"Our detectives and patrol officers are canvassing for witnesses [and] video footage," said Const. Hickey on Thursday night. "We encourage anyone who has information, dash cam footage or cellphone footage to please contact police or Crime Stoppers."

Conestoga Mall closed its doors after the robbery and posted a message to social media that it would remain closed until further notice. The mall reopened Friday and representatives said they continue to work closely with police.

PREVIOUS ROBBERIES

The Raffi Jewelers store in Conestoga Mall was also targeted by thieves in January 2022. Waterloo regional police eventually arrested two men from the GTA and recovered $300,000 worth of jewelry.

Other robberies were also reported in April 2022 and May 2022, though no details about what store or merchandise were taken were released by police.

-- With reporting by Krista Sharpe and Jeff Pickel

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