Employees at a jewelry store in the Canadian province of Ontario used swords to fend off armed robbers, including one intruder wielding a handgun.
Four assailants were caught on several security cameras shortly after noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21, as they pulled up to Ashok Jewellers in Mississauga, according to Peel Regional Police.
“Four suspects attempted to gain entry to the store by breaking a window at which point the employees were able to fend off the suspects who then fled the area,” the police said.
The would-be robbers, wearing disguises, were captured on external security cameras exiting a vehicle before approaching the store.
Video from inside the store showed one of the intruders breaking a window with what appears to be a large hammer.
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An employee and a customer were standing just several feet away, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as the assailants proceeded to shatter the glass and try to force their way inside.
As one of the suspects tried to climb in through the broken window, three people inside the store charged toward the intruder, swinging sabre-style swords.
“When we saw them coming in, that’s when we really took action and we rushed them,” said Arjun Kumar, the son of the store’s owner, according to the CBC.
Seemingly startled by the swinging swords, the intruder can be seen in the video leaping back through the broken window, while another masked figure approaches the hole in the window and points what appears to be a handgun.
Kumar told CBC reporters that the suspect tried to fire the weapon, but the gun jammed.
“They had a gun but my main concern was, I wanted them to not get into my store,” he explained. “I was willing to do anything to keep them out. Even if it meant me getting shot, not a problem.”
The four men fled the scene in a dark-coloured SUV, said Peel Police Constable Danny Marttini.
Investigators have reached out to the public with a request for help in identifying the suspects.
Kumar told reporters that the swords were gifts from a family friend, and that he was lucky that they were on hand.
“It was good luck for us,” he said.
Police, however, said staff should mind their safety and avoid violently confronting armed robbers.
“I think a lot of people want to naturally defend what’s theirs. At the same time, we don’t want people doing things that would cause any harm to themselves,” Marttini said, according to the CBC.
“Safety is first and foremost. At the end of the day, property is property,”he said.
Falling Crime Rates
Canadian officials point out that despite headline-grabbing incidents like the would-be jewelry store robbery, the overall police-reported crime rate in Canada has seen a steady decline for more than 20 years.
According to Statistics Canada, an official government data service, the falling trend is most notable for property crime.
Violent crime, including homicides and attempted murders, has also seen a substantial drop. Murder rates, in particular, are at near historic lows.
Experts cited by Statistics Canada have not reached a consensus on declining crime rates, but several factors are believed to be possible explanations.
These factors include an aging population, changing policing practices and strategies, the rise of technology, shifts in unemployment, variations in alcohol consumption, neighbourhood characteristics, or changing attitudes toward illegal and risky behaviour.