In September 2017, Ajax experienced a string of violent robberies and car-jackings that gripped the community in fear. The pair of suspects would surprise unsuspecting victims in their own driveways as they entered or exited their vehicles. During three of these instances, victims were held at gunpoint and forced to drive to nearby banks to withdraw money. Several victims resisted and faced brutal assaults with two being sent to hospital for their injuries.
In response, the Major Crime Robbery Unit and West Division Criminal Investigation Branch formed Project Westmore. The team was made up of a group of very determined investigators who worked tirelessly over a two-week period to identify the suspects and collect evidence.
On November 28, 2017, this crime spree came to an abrupt end after the team observed the pair rob a taxi driver. A high-risk arrest was executed and both accused were taken into custody and charged with more than 60 offences.
In March of 2017, Csts. Amicone and Saedi-Kandelati were attending an unrelated call for service in Oshawa when a citizen informed them that there was a fire in the high-rise apartment building one street south. Both officers immediately made their way on foot to the location and discovered that heavy smoke and flames were billowing from an upper floor window. With no hesitation, both officers entered the building and made their way to the fiery unit. Heavy smoke had already filled the hallway. Three men were located in the apartment and all were slightly disoriented. This was a full working fire with the majority of the unit engulfed. Both officers removed the occupants, leading them out to safety and then immediately began evacuating the neighbouring apartments. All tenants made it out to safety and as a result of the officers’ actions no injuries were sustained. The Fire Captain credited the officers with getting the occupants out of the building quickly. Both officers kept calm and quickly relayed information as to the whereabouts and removal of occupants, possibly saving a life.
In November of 2016, Sgt. Stoddart responded to Lakeridge Health Oshawa for a suicidal male on the roof. He was approximately 130 feet off of the ground. He had a rope around his neck that was secured to framework on the roof. At times, the male would lean over the edge of the roof with the rope around his neck. Sgt. Stoddart made his way to the rooftop with a security guard after several failed attempts to locate an access door to the roof. Several other officers were also scrambling to find the correct access point at this time as well. Sgt. Stoddart approached the male in a calm and concerned manner. The male was at first, very agitated with the presence of police and moved toward the edge of the roof. Sgt. Stoddart quickly established a rapport with the subject, finding a common link between him and the male. They chatted some more and the male moved away from the edge of the roof. At one point, the distraught man turned away from Sgt. Stoddart as they continued their dialogue. The officer feared the male had turned to jump off the roof and saw an opportunity to act. He tackled the male, handcuffed him and cut the rope away from his neck and took him safely into custody away from the edge of the roof with the assistance of the security guard. The male was subsequently apprehended under the Mental Health Act. This event occurred approximately two feet from the roof edge.
In December of 2016 at approximately 6 p.m., the family of an 11-year-old Oshawa girl called police. Their daughter was last seen leaving home at 8:30 a.m. that morning and heading for school. She didn’t return home. It was quickly determined that the girl never attended school that day. She had been recently diagnosed with depression and her family was concerned for her safety. Responding officers immediately commenced a search in the dark and cold conditions, but were not successful. The Public Safety Unit (PSU) was called in to assist. Both on- and off-duty PSU members responded and began a methodical ground search in the heavily wooded areas near the girl’s home. The cold, frightened child was located near thick brush, shivering in the dark and crying. She had stayed outside all day and was not dressed for the elements. Officers spoke calmly and softly to her and she was taken to a cruiser to warm up before paramedics arrived. The quick response and co-ordinated approach of the PSU saved this girl’s life.
A team of dozens of DRPS members, both sworn and civilian, are responsible for taking down a group of violent jewelry thieves. The Robbery Unit was aware of the group who had hit stores in York and Durham. The Unit began working with their counterparts at York Regional Police (YRP) and a team was formed to identify the culprits. The suspects robbed another jewelry store in Oshawa at gunpoint and it became violent, leaving the owner severely beaten. The Robbery Unit was immediately aware of the incident and broadcast a vehicle description from the robbery held the day before. With the help of YRP, a cellphone believed to be involved was pinged. When it pinged to the Clarington area, officers immediately flooded the zone and had a visible presence near jewelry stores. Cst. Lloyd of East Division observed the suspect vehicle and followed strategically. Through the ongoing work of Comms/911, numerous marked vehicles, the OPP and our TSU were waiting ahead when the car entered Highway 401. They coordinated a tandem stop and the suspect vehicle attempted to evade the stop by side-swiping a police cruiser. The box held and all five suspects were arrested. One of the arresting officers was Cst. Chris Crosby who was working his very last shift after a tremendous 35-year career with DRPS.