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Joel Ceausu – The Suburban LJI Reporter

Two similar muggings reported to police two days apart on Monkland and a third downtown have left NDG parents concerned and at least two teenagers feeling traumatized.

NDG resident Angela said that at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, her 16-year-old son was assaulted on Monkland between Girouard and Decarie by three teens wearing balaclavas and brandishing knives while en route to Villa Maria. “They took his phone and wallet” and says the suspects seemed to be between 17 and 19. The thieves used his contactless debit card to empty his bank account she says, “even before he got home.”

In both cases, minors were targeted, confirmed SPVM Constable Jean-Pierre Brabant. “There were several suspects,” he said, “and they asked for personal items and showed a knife to the victims.” Brabant says that there were no injuries.

Suspects in at least one of the incidents were French-speaking says another resident, whose 15-year-old son was robbed on Saturday evening on Monkland near Earnscliffe. Mauro says 5 or 6 masked and hooded boys surrounded his son and brandished a knife, searching his pockets and forcing him to delete his phone data. They took the device and ran towards Villa-maria metro. Brabant says investigators will look at area cameras to try to identify suspects.

In both cases, victim’s phones were taken, after the attackers ordered victims to erase them, to remove passwords and prevent locking. Also common to both incidents are the victims’ sense of vulnerability. “I can’t even express how vulnerable he feels now” Angela told The Suburban, urging the community to pressure police and representatives to act: “A tragedy can unfold very easily when knives and adrenaline get mixed.”

“It’s really very traumatic” for Mauro’s son. “He’s really shaken by this. Nothing like this has ever happened to him, he’s never been in a fight. He’s a quiet kid that doesn’t show much, and I’ve never seen him like this.” He learned as police took their report, that a similar incident was reported to have occurred shortly after to a victim at Square Victoria metro, but The Suburban could not confirm by press time.

“It’s hard to know how to protect our kids” he says, other than teaching them to be more attentive to their surroundings. “They searched his pockets while he had his hands up in the air, this at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night on Monkland… I hope he manages to turn this to something positive, maybe we can help our kids understand why kids their age would think it’s ok to rob someone. Or feel they have to.”

NDG councillor Peter McQueen told The Suburban that Station 9 police “went into immediate action when a couple of knife-armed group muggings of lone teenagers occurred,” adding that uniformed patrols were stepped up, and “detectives intensified the process of finding and arresting the perpetrators as part of their city-wide investigation of similar crimes.” Mauro says given the word went out to the entire STM network and SPVM across the island about this group, he’s confident perpetrators will be apprehended. “But the damage is already done to my son” he says, “so maybe these kids will learn a lesson.”

Brabant says it’s good to travel in pairs when possible, and “always look at your surroundings before exiting the metro. If you don’t feel safe, go to a safe place or call 911. These days people have their noses in their phones and they don’t always see what’s happening around them. If you’re being followed, try and call 911 and give your position, and go somewhere public… But if you can’t, don’t resist. If you feel in danger, don’t fight, just give it up. It’s easier to make sure you’re not harmed for something that is just material.” n

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