Three men from the Greater Toronto Area are facing charges in connection with an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.
Waterloo Regional Police responded around 4 p.m. Thursday after receiving several reports of a robbery at a jewellery store.
According to police, they received initial reports that shots were fired at the mall. However, they said there's no indication shots were actually fired. It's believed the sounds heard were glass jewellery display cases being smashed.
Police say four male suspects entered the store with batons and hammers. They then allegedly smashed the display cases and stole merchandise.
A security guard managed to arrest one suspect, while three others fled the mall on foot. Two ran across King Street North to an industrial area. They were later arrested by police. The security guard was injured and transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The fourth suspect got into a vehicle in the mall parking lot, occupied by a family. The driver of the vehicle and their young child were able to exit before the suspect stole the vehicle. The Grey Honda HRV was last seen heading south on King Street North.
The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately late 20s to early 30s, 5'10" tall and around 230 pounds. He has long curly hair tied back in a bun, and a short beard.
CityNews 570 spoke with a witness Friday morning who was at the mall at the time of the robbery and witnessed one of the arrests being made. "It was right in front and there were three people on top of him. I'm fairly confident he was was of the robbers. He ended up getting arrested when the police came," she said.
"I didn't even want to come here this morning. It doesn't typically happen but ... when it does happen it's really scary ... it's just difficult because I'm here all the time. she added.
Three men from the GTA -- 20, 21 and 24 years of age -- are facing the following charges:
- Robbery with a weapon
- Disguise with intent
- Possession of stolen property over $5,000
The accused were held for a bail hearing.
Police also anticipate further charges will be laid.
Anyone who has information about the robbery is asked to call police at 519-570-9777, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Police cleared the mall as a precaution and it was closed for the remainder of Thursday evening for the investigation. Grand River Transit service was also temporarily impacted in the area due to the police activity, but the disruption ended shortly after 6:45 p.m.
The mall will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday.
The safety of all Conestoga Mall employees and customers is of the utmost importance to us.— Conestoga Mall (@ConestogaMall) February 3, 2023
The Shopping Center and stores will be open and operating for business as of 10:00 today.