Family held hostage during two Money Mart heists

Four bandits kidnapped a family and held them hostage during a well-planned raid on two Toronto Money Marts. They held four adults and two children hostage at a family home overnight. In the morning, they took two of the hostages — a mother and daughter, both Money Mart employees — to two of the company's branches.

National Post
December 24, 2003

Family held hostage during two Money Mart heists
Mother and daughter worked at different branches
Elaine Marshall and Shawne McKeown

Four bandits kidnapped a family and held them hostage during a well-planned raid on two Toronto Money Marts.

They held four adults and two children hostage at a family home overnight. In the morning, they took two of the hostages — a mother and daughter, both Money Mart employees — to two of the company's branches.

The robbers then reportedly waited until Brinks employees came by and dropped off money. Police refused to confirm reports that $50,000 had been stolen.

Police said at 10 p.m. on Monday, the bandits, armed with at least one handgun, forced their way into the 32-year-old daughter's home, taking her, her husband and their baby hostage.

The three were then forced to drive their own vehicle to her 49-year-old mother's residence.

The bandits forced their way into the mother's home, taking her hostage along with one other adult and a child.

The six were held hostage over- night in the mother's east Toronto home.

The next morning, some of the bandits took the mother and daughter, in their own vehicle, to the two targeted Money Mart locations. The remaining robbers stayed at the home.

The daughter worked at the Money Mart at 722 Queen St. E. and the mother at the 2575 Danforth branch.

Robberies then occurred at both locations. Police could not confirm which location was hit first, but did say that after the robberies the women were left at one of the locations.

When the ordeal was over, the bandits fled in the family's SUV, a 2003 black Ford Escape.

Sergeant John McDonald of the holdup squad said police could not release a description of the bandits and said the victims were not injured but were shaken up by the experience.

"The investigation's only started and the people are obviously traumatized," Sgt. McDonald said.

"Obviously, we'd still like to recover the vehicle, which is very important to us."

Money Mart could not be contacted for comment, but issued a news release yesterday afternoon.

"At this time, we are most concerned about the safety and well-being of our staff and their families," stated the release issued by Money Mart's head office in Victoria, B.C.

Jan Joyce, the mother's next-door neighbour, said she "didn't hear a thing."

Ms. Joyce described the family, whom she has known for six years, as kind. "We've been here since '97 and I've never known better people," Ms. Joyce said. "They are very kind and they would never do anything wrong."

Nettu Singh, owner of the Broadview Bakery and Delicatessen, located two doors east of the Queen Street East Money Mart, said this robbery has made her uneasy.

"I will be scared today," Ms. Singh said.

Ms. Singh said she knew the employees of the Money Mart, as she often went there to get change for her store.

"They're very nice girls and I feel sorry for them," she said.

© Copyright 2003 National Post


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Risks: Hostage taking, Theft, Usury, Violence, Canada, 20031224 Family held

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