These robbers wore masks presenting themselves as two elderly Caucasian men shopping for jewelry.
But things were not as they appeared. This was a jewelry heist.
The two people at the door of an Airport Road shop on Nov. 9 looked like well-dressed, older gentlemen visiting this Mississauga jewelry store in good faith.
“The store staff buzzed them in,” said Det.-Sgt. Brad Stafford, of Peel Regional Police’s Central Robbery Bureau.
But they were masked bandits. Their face coverings were not to protect people from COVID-19, but were Halloween-style props to alter appearances.
“It was a takeover-style robbery,” said Stafford. “The employees were zip-tied.”
In the meantime the armed, dangerous and disguised robbers filled bags up with jewelry made from gold.
“One suspect was wearing a dark suit, black dress shoes, black gloves and a realistic mask that appeared as a white male with a long black beard, wearing black sunglasses. That suspect was armed with a black and silver handgun,” police said in a release Wednesday.
“A second suspect was wearing a black top with a white collar, black pants, black dress shoes, black gloves and a realistic mask that appeared as a white male with a long black beard.”
They meant business.
“When they were done, they had taken $1.5 million in jewelry,” said Stafford.
But what came next surprised everybody.
As the robbers tried to get into their car, they were confronted by the store’s owner, who tried to get his stuff back.
“He grabbed on to one of the bags and wouldn’t let it go,” said Stafford. “One of the suspects took out a gun and shot him twice.”
They got the stolen jewelry, but this already despicable crime quickly elevated to attempted murder.
The store owner went to hospital, where he started his road to recovery after being shot in the leg and abdomen. “He’s a lucky man,” said Stafford. “He could have easily been killed.”
He is still healing from the trauma of the incident.
Meanwhile, detectives went to work to try to track down these violent criminals. All police had to work with was a picture of a white BMW X4 SUV and two unidentified suspects in disguise. For six weeks they were on the loose with a seven-figure gold hall, thinking they were home free.
Not so fast.
In Toronto on Monday, Peel cops exercised a warrant for a house, where they located one of the two men they allege are involved.
“Through an extensive and thorough criminal investigation, police were able to determine the identity of one of the suspects as Olakunle Banjoko, a 30-year-old male from Toronto,” say Peel police.
Banjoko has been charged with attempted murder, robbery with a firearm, disguise with intent, and two counts of failing to comply with a weapons prohibition order. He is known to police and was convicted of a 2015 Ajax armoured car robbery attempt with his brother.
Banjoko is considered innocent in this crime until proven guilty. Meanwhile, police have not yet identified a second suspect or located the stolen jewelry.