Three suspects are still in police custody following an armed robbery at a downtown Collingwood jewelry store and a manhunt into Clearview Township, which saw the OPP helicopter and canine units combing the area near Collingwood Regional Airport on Monday night.
Meanwhile, Barrie police are looking for any possible links to an attempted armed robbery that happened downtown the same day.
Ontario Provincial Police say a firearm was "discharged" in the Collingwood store during the robbery at D.C. Taylor Jewellers at about 3 p.m. on Dec. 4. The three suspects fled the scene in a dark-coloured SUV.
None of the store employees were physically injured in the incident, according to OPP.
On Wednesday afternoon, police confirmed that a 17-year-old from Brampton, a 17-year-old from Whitby and a 16-year-old from Brampton are all facing charges of robbery using a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of property obtained by crime (over $5,000), flight from a peace officer, disguise with intent and use of a firearm while committing an offence and pointing of a firearm in relation to the incident.
All three remain in custody and cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Barrie Police Service also announced today they are looking for links between an attempted jewelry store robbery in downtown Barrie that took place also on Dec. 4, this one at about 4 p.m. The location of the attempted robbery was not released.
Barrie police said three males entered a business behind a customer who was granted access through the locked front door. The males then displayed several weapons, including a firearm, but fled the store without obtaining any merchandise.
No employees were physically injured, according to Barrie police.
The three male suspects in the Barrie robbery, believed to be under the age of 18 years old, were seen leaving the area in a white Honda CRV, which was reported stolen from the Toronto area.
"Police are continuing to follow investigative leads and are aware of a jewelry store robbery that occurred the same afternoon in Collingwood and are investigating any connections between the two incidents," states the news release from Barrie police.
Jennett Mays, communications manager for Barrie Police Services, said the two robberies may not be linked, but Barrie investigators are aware of the Collingwood robbery on the same day.
"It's not necessarily the same people," said Mays. "It was a similar type of occurrence, and we're just looking at the potential connections."
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have information to contact Barrie police at 705-725-7025, ext. 2129. Any information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.
The Collingwood robbery was captured, in part, by the camera mounted on the town hall for a 24-hour downtown livestream posted to YouTube.
The video shows three people in hoods enter the D.C. Taylor Jewellers downtown Collingwood and a short time later it appears broken glass blows out from the front of the shop. A short time later all three of the hooded people come running out the door and go north again and out of the frame.
Following the Collingwood robbery, police had a description of the suspect vehicle, which had been reported stolen to Toronto Police Services. Local OPP found the SUV abandoned in a field near County County Road 124 and the 30/31 Sideroad, just south of Nottawa.
A ground search commenced with Collingwood OPP getting assistance from the Huronia West OPP, as well as the OPP canine unit, tactics and rescue unit (TRU), emergency response team (ERT), and Aviation Services (police helicopter).
"After several hours, all three suspects were apprehended without incident," states a news release from Collingwood OPP.
Collingwood OPP Const. Martin Hachey also told CollingwoodToday this week that when the suspects were apprehended, the police were able to recover some items taken from the store that are being held as evidence at this time.
“No photos will be provided, but certainly it was jewelry items given the type of goods this store sells,” said Hachey.
Investigation is ongoing at this time and anyone with information is asked to call Collingwood OPP at 1-705-445-4321 or if you wish to remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). You can also leave an anonymous tip online at www.crimestopperssdm.com.