Teri Pecoskie, Toronto Star, May 28, 2010
Toronto police are searching for suspects after several people reported being squirted with feces and then robbed.
Police say the suspects strike after their victims make ATM withdrawals.
First, one suspect walks up behind the victim and shoots feces at them from a squirt bottle.
The second suspect then offers to help by holding the victim’s purse or jacket while they clean themselves off, before allegedly fleeing with the items.
“They try to get the victim in a place where they’re alone, so even if they yell, no one can hear them,” said Det. David Barwell.
Barwell said there have been four such incidents at banks in the financial district in the past week.
He said crimes like this are typically carried out by transient groups that are both “practiced and organized.”
“They’re also usually pretty adept pickpockets,” he said. “They’re trying to get people to free up their arms.”
While Barwell has never heard of groups using feces before, he said the robbery technique is not unique.
“The ketchup bandits did the same thing,” he said. Barwell said police haven’t analyzed the feces, but “the running belief” is that it’s human.
Investigators are looking for at least four suspects who are all described as Hispanic and who police say, “could be in the possession of squeeze bottles or containers of feces.”