The co-owner of a sneaker and clothing store in Scarborough says thieves made off with approximately $10,000 worth of clothes during a daring daylight robbery this week.
Francisco Vinas said three "younger age" men wearing masks entered his Heatcheck Toronto store as he and two co-workers sat inside in the middle of the day on Monday.
"The first guy that came in had, it looked like a gun under his clothes and [as] soon as he walked in, he told us to go to the back. He said, 'We're going to take everything in here,'" Vinas told CBC Toronto on Thursday.
"So, we go to the back and the other two guys run in and they just opened bags and they just started putting stuff in there.
"You work so hard for what you have and then these people just come out of nowhere and just start taking everything. It's sad," he added.
Vinas said he and his business partner have been operating the store for almost a year "and nothing like this has ever happened."
Vinas said he decided to speak out about the robbery because he doesn't "want to see it happen to another sneaker store."
CBC Toronto also spoke with the owner of a sneaker shop downtown who says he was robbed at gunpoint two weeks ago.
Investigation underway, police say
Victor Kwong, spokesperson for Toronto Police Service, said he couldn't comment on the robberies "as they are ongoing open cases at this point."
But Kwong said the number of total hold-ups, including of individuals, is actually down 12 per cent year-to-date compared to last year. Meanwhile there have been 186 hold-ups at retail stores compared to 210 last year.
Kwong said Toronto police offer a free service to retailers like convenience stores to assess and make recommendations to increase safety.
According to Vinas, after the robbers were finished filling up their bags, they went to the back to check the register but there was no cash there.
Vinas says he managed to note down the licence plate number of the car the thieves fled in, and later found out it was a stolen vehicle.
"We got the licence plate, but we couldn't do anything with it," he said.
Vinas said while they would normally keep the store's doors open during the warmer months, they now keep them locked until a customer shows up.
He also says a social media post by the store about the robbery has had thousands of shares, and that several people have reached out.
"It shows the love we have in this community," Vinas said.