Toronto Maple Leaf Mitch Marner victim of armed carjacking in Etobicoke

Click to play video: 'Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Mitch Marner the victim of an armed carjacking'
Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Mitch Marner the victim of an armed carjacking
WATCH: As Catherine McDonald reports, while Marner was unharmed, police are concerned about the spike in carjackings in Toronto this year – May 17, 2022

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner was the victim of an armed carjacking in Etobicoke Monday evening, the team has confirmed.

In a tweet, Toronto police said the carjacking occurred in area of The Queensway and Islington Avenue in south Etobicoke at around 7:46 p.m.

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Officers said a man was robbed of a Black Range Rover and he was uninjured.

Shortly after the incident, sources confirmed to Global News that Marner was the victim.

On Tuesday, a media relations spokesperson for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) said that Marner was the “unfortunate victim of a carjacking in Etobicoke on Monday evening.”

The spokesperson said Marner was unharmed and the team is thankful for the support from Toronto police. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators.

Click to play video: 'Toronto Maple Leafs player Mitch Marner’s SUV stolen in armed carjacking'
Toronto Maple Leafs player Mitch Marner’s SUV stolen in armed carjacking

“TPS has asked that neither Mitch or the club comment any further on the details of the incident as this is an ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson said.

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Police said there are three suspects — two with handguns and one with a knife.

The suspects fled the scene in the vehicle, police said.

Ahmar Khan / Global News

According to police, officers were searching the area.

Yellow police tape was seen cordoning off a portion of a parking lot at a Cineplex movie theatre in the area.

Sources told Global News Marner went to Toronto police’s 22 Division to give a statement Monday evening.

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Marner’s teammate reflected on the carjacking Tuesday morning.

“It’s scary, that’s life. That’s not hockey,” Jason Spezza said.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Toronto Police Insp. Rich Harris said investigators are working “feverishly” to review all evidence that has been gathered so far.

He said it is an “active investigation,” adding that evidence gathered so far suggests it was a “crime of opportunity.”

Harris said the vehicle that was stolen was the “commodity” the suspects were after.

Harris did not confirm who the victims were, but said the man and woman in their 20s complied with the demands made of them, and the suspects made off with the vehicle.

Harris said Monday’s incident is the latest in a series of carjacking occurrences in Toronto, adding that the force’s Hold Up unit has investigated 60 carjackings so far in 2022.

He said this marks a significant increase over 2021, where 59 incidents were reported in the entire calendar year.

To date, 20 arrests have been made in connection with the 60 carjackings this year, Harris said.

He said the force has noted an increase in carjackings involving high-end vehicles, saying they appear to be the “target commodity.”

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While Harris said each case is different, he said some of the vehicles stolen are sold for profit and shipped overseas, while others have been recovered in Toronto or just outside the city.

He said investigators pay “special attention” to where these carjackings are taking place in the city, to determine “hot spots” in Toronto.

Harris said the incidents appear to be occurring city-wide in recent weeks, but noted that there have been three incidents in Toronto’s west end.

Harris said these “senseless acts of violence are investigated to the fullest.”

He said investigators will leave “no rock unturned,” adding that these violent incidents have a lasting, negative psychological effect on the community.

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Toronto Mayor John Tory was asked about the spike in carjackings in the city at an unrelated press conference on  Tuesday.

Tory said carjacking “shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

“I’ve talked to the police chief about it (and) they’ve made some very successful arrests in the last number of days in this area but they’re going to have to keep at it,” Tory told reporters.

He said those committing the crimes are “taking innocent people – and for the sake of a car – are endangering their lives.”

“I’m not going to put up with that and the police chief isn’t going to put up with that,” he said. “And so we’re going to do what we have to do to try and infiltrate these gangs. And they have had some success – our police – in doing that just in recent days.”

Harris offered several tips to the public.

He said if someone attempts to steal your vehicle you should “give it up,” and avoid resisting, arguing or fighting.

“Your safety is worth more than your car,” he said.

If your vehicle is stolen, Harris said to run to a safe place and call police “immediately.”

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He said to keep your doors locked and park in well-lit areas.

— With files from Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press

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