‘Audacious crime’: Laval woman’s stolen car used in Ontario shopping mall smash-n-grab

'Audacious crime': Laval woman's stolen car used in Ontario shopping mall smash-n-grab
'Audacious crime': Laval woman's stolen car used in Ontario shopping mall smash-n-grab

A Quebec woman said she was very surprised to find her stolen Audi had been used in what’s being described as an “absolutely insane” Ontario mall robbery.

Taylor-Anna Kobinger, a resident of Laval, Que., listed her 2011 Black Audi A4 on Facebook Marketplace in January as a means to raise the funds needed for a down payment on a home.

On Jan. 29, Kobinger said a man responded to her ad and came to her home in order to test drive the vehicle. She said he took the car out twice – on the first drive, she said everything went accordingly, but when he asked to test drive it a second time, she said the man began to “drive dangerously.”

“He was really driving very dangerously and I didn’t feel secure, so I [asked] to change places,” Kobinger said.

But, when she stepped out of the passenger seat, she said the man hit the gas and drove away.

“I tried to run after it. I fell. I slipped because I had rain boots,” she said. “And from that moment, I haven’t seen my car.”

However, on Wednesday morning, Kobinger said York Regional Police (YRP) told her that her car had been involved in a robbery – more than 550 km from her home in Laval.

According to York Regional Police (YRP), a car with the same license plate as Kobinger’s had been driven through the glass doors of an Ontario mall early Wednesday before allegedly breaking into an electronics store.

YRP was not able to confirm Kobinger as the owner of the car, but Kobinger provided documentation to CTV News Toronto showing her vehicle matched the description and plate number provided by police in an earlier press release.

Surveillance footage from inside Vaughan Mills, just north of Toronto, shows a 2011 Black Audi A4, with Quebec licence plate, driving into one of the mall’s closed entrances at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle is then seen driving erratically through a number of hallways in the shopping centre before smashing through a different exit and fleeing the scene.

The video does not show, however, when the suspects allegedly broke into the store.

“It is an audacious crime,” Sgt. Clint Whitney told reporters outside the mall on Wednesday. “It is unacceptable. People work in this mall, there is going to be cleaners, there is going to be security personnel. So we are just fortunate that nobody was hurt and it is property damage only.”

The incident happened at around 1:10 a.m. at the shopping centre near Highway 400 and Rutherford Road. Police arrived shortly after 1:30 a.m.

He said that the vehicle, which had been reported stolen, was last seen heading towards Jane Street.

“It did look like they were going shopping in that vehicle. It is very, very audacious,” he told reporters. “I don’t know what was going through their minds.”

Whitney said police are looking for two suspects in connection with the incident but are unable to provide a description, as both were disguised by hoods at the time.

He said the suspects made off with a “quantity of electronic devices” and could face extensive charges in connection with the apparent joyride.

At about 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Kobinger said YRP called her and told her of her car’s involvement in the incident.

“First, I cried, I freaked out because I don’t have that kind of money to fix it,” Kobinger said when asked how she took the news.

“Never in my life did I expect to see my car in a mall – literally never – I was very surprised to have it all the way [in Vaughan].”

While Kobinger said she’s glad her car has been found, she also said she’s struck with worry over the costs of having to travel to retrieve it and the subsequent repairs.

Vaughan Mayor Stephen Del Duca called the incident “absolutely insane” when speaking to CP24 Wednesday.

“Earlier this morning when I heard the story I couldn’t believe it,” Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca told CP24 on Wednesday.

“I shop at Vaughan Mills, so many in our community do. It is just outrageous. I have lived here for 35 years. Vaughan is a very safe community but to see the way that some people, the criminal element, are going about doing what they are doing, it is outrageous and we need every hand on deck to try to fix it.”

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