'Money Mart' bandits arrested, police say

During these robberies, two employees of Money Mart and their families were held hostage overnight by a gang. In the morning, the victims were taken to the Money Marts where they were forced to wait until cash was delivered by an armoured car company. The money was then stolen and the hostages released.

The Toronto Star
March 23, 2004

'Money Mart' bandits arrested, police say
Holdup gang held employees, families hostage before robbing stores, businesses of thousands
Curtis Rush

Toronto police say they have broken up what they believe was a gang of holdup thieves who held employees and families hostage in a number of Money Mart and store robberies from Toronto to Markham over the past four months.

Police have made 11 arrests, including the alleged gang leader, who used the profits from the robberies to load up on expensive cars and merchandise, an investigator said.

Detective Sergeant Wilf Townley said the leader was alleged to have purchased four expensive vehicles, including two Lexus cars, a loaded Infinity truck and a Protégé. He paid cash for all of them, Townley said.

Several search warrants were executed in different parts of the city yesterday and police recovered $10,000 in cash, two handguns, a sawed-off shotgun, ammunition and drugs.

High-end vehicles were also seized.

The biggest break came late Saturday when police intercepted the gang just prior to their attempting to rob a Food Basics grocery store in Markham, police said.

A woman waiting in a getaway car was also arrested.

The first of the robberies, police believe, occurred last December when two Money Marts on Queen St. E. and Danforth Ave. were robbed and hostages taken.

During these robberies, two employees of Money Mart and their families were held hostage overnight by a gang.

In the morning, the victims were taken to the Money Marts where they were forced to wait until cash was delivered by an armoured car company. The money was then stolen and the hostages released.

On Jan. 8, in York Region, another victim and his family were taken hostage at their home by the same gang, police say. The gang then forced the victim to hand over the keys to his business and a large quantity of cash was stolen.

Police believe that on Jan. 10, the same gang robbed a store where employees were taken hostage and cash and cigarettes stolen.

On Jan. 26, another victim and his family were taken hostage in a home in York Region by five members of a gang. The victim was forced to give up his keys and the gang robbed his business.

During this home invasion, a family member was talking on the telephone to a friend, who notified police. York Regional Police arrived and four of the five suspects were found and arrested.

Hasson Wilson, 36, of Toronto has been charged with all five robberies and 19 counts of forcible confinement.

Amanda Canning, 24, of Oakville, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.


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