Arrests made in ‘heavy’ Toronto robbery that saw cash spill into parking lot

The April Fools’ Day robbery of a business that refills privately owned ATMs netted more than $1 million

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Surveillance video of a weak-armed crook splitting open a cash-laden trash bag too heavy for him to carry inspired the name of the Toronto Police investigation into a violent robbery earlier this year that has landed seven in custody and an eighth outstanding.

On Tuesday, police unveiled details of Project Heavy Bag — the probe into an April Fools’ Day robbery that netted more than $1 million in cash.

Just before 9 a.m. on April 1, two armed men confronted employees of a business near Carlingview Dr. and Dixon Rd. that refills privately owned ATMs.

Surveillance video shows two masked men force a staffer into the business at gunpoint and coerce a second employee into a cash room.

One thug stuffed cash into a trash bag while the other struck the employee on the head with his handgun.

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However, when one of the crooks opted to drag the bag outside instead of carrying it, bundles of cash spilled into the parking lot.

Weeks later, on May 17, officers attended a botched home invasion near Kipling Rd. and Steeles Ave.

“While police were checking on the well-being of the occupants, they recovered approximately $160,000 later determined to be stolen during the course of the (April) robbery,” Hold-up Squad Insp. Richard Harris said.

Bundles of cash spill into the parking lot after one of the bad guys proved too much of a weakling to carry the trash bag full of money, which split open as he was dragging it in the April 1, 2021 heist in Toronto.
Bundles of cash spill into the parking lot after one of the bad guys proved too much of a weakling to carry the trash bag full of money, which split open as he was dragging it in the April 1, 2021 heist in Toronto. Photo by Handout /Toronto Police Service

Police made their first arrest on Sept. 9, pulling over a car near Queen St. W. and Roncesvalles Ave.

Devante Virgo, 23, of Toronto, faces a number of charges, including conspiracy, robbery, failure to comply and numerous firearms offences.

Also in Virgo’s car, cops allege, was a Glock handgun with an illegally large magazine, as well as 22-year-old Courtni Martin, who faces firearm charges.

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Five more suspects were swept up in the following days.

Search warrants netted seven more handguns with high-capacity magazines, body armour, and a large quantity of cash and cocaine.

Facing numerous charges include 22-year-old Andrew Parsons, Gabrielle Belsito, 26, and Michelle Belsito, 26, all of Toronto, and 36-year-old Phillip Nkrumah and Stephanie Nkrumah, 37, both of Caledon

Emmanuel Rawson, 22, of Toronto
Emmanuel Rawson, 22, of Toronto Photo by Handout /Toronto Police Service

Police are still searching for 22-year-old Emmanuel Rawson, of Toronto, who is wanted for robbery, firearms and possession charges.

Rawson is described as a 5-foot-7, 190-pound Black male, who should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police say anyone who spots him should call 911.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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