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$100K reward for tips leading to arrests of TD bank robbers

Screen grab of bank robbery suspects. Toronto police.

Toronto police think the combination of surveillance video footage and up to $100,000 in reward money will lead them to two men who pulled off a brazen and violent daylight bank robbery on Sunday.

Two people, a teller and a customer, were shot during the heist, and both remain in hospital.

The Canadian Bankers Association is offering the money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two suspects, who are both described as black men in their early 20s.

The reward money was announced by the association’s director of security William Crate during a news conference at police headquarters on Monday afternoon.

“We hope that this reward will lead to information needed to stop these criminals so that people can  go about their lives freely and with confidence,” Crate said.

“Bank robbery is a personal crime; it’s not an economic crime,” he added. “There are innocent victims in these robberies and they are our customers and our employees.”

Crate said the doling out of the reward money will be at the discretion of Toronto police.

The daylight robbery happened at a TD Bank on St. Clair Avenue West, east of Jane Street, just after noon on Sunday.

Bank surveillance video footage shows two men storm the bank, one brandishing a silver handgun. Neither man is wearing a mask, and their faces are visible.

One of the men orders bank employees and customers to the floor, while the other vaults the counter and begins collecting the money.

When the suspect leaps back over the counter, he’s confronted by a customer, and the two begin wrestling.  During the tussle, the suspect fires a shot, hitting a 22-year-old female teller in the thigh.

The vigilante customer, a 54-year-old man, chased the men outside and was shot in the stomach. He suffered injuries to his left diaphragm and his bowels. His spleen was removed and part of his kidneys and pancreas were also removed during surgery yesterday, police said.

Both victims are expected to survive.

Hold-up squad Staff Insp. Mike Earl, said the suspects fled in a stolen Honda that was later recovered near Jane Street and Wilson Avenue. The car is currently undergoing forensic testing.

Earl said the duo escaped with cash, but it was “minimal” and may not be usable because a dye pack exploded when they were fleeing.

He also said it’s the first time since the 1999 murder of Brampton bank teller Nancy Kidd that he’s seen a shooting during a bank robbery.

“He brought a loaded firearm to a bank robbery and obviously he was ready to use it,” he said.

“This is a horrific robbery, it’s brazen and it’s cowardly.”

Suspect 1 is described as: Male, black in his early 20s. He was wearing a black hooded sweat top with the number 8 on the left breast, a Chicago White Sox ball cap and faded blue jeans. He was carrying a silver semi-automatic handgun.

Police say Suspect 1 was the lone shooter, firing at least two shots.

Suspect 2 is described as: Male black, early 20s. He was wearing a hooded sweat top, baseball cap, a quilted North Face vest and faded blue jeans.

Both men are considered armed and dangerous.

Earl said there’s nothing to indicate that the men were responsible for any previous robberies, but he advises witnesses not to get involved if they are present during a future crime.

“Our recommendation to the public is very seriously to co-operate with someone pointing a gun at you,” he said. “[The 54-year-old victim in this case] made an instant call on his own in the bank and we recommend people don’t do that.”

Crate noted that bank robberies have been less frequent over the past 13 years. He says there were 1,100 in 2000, but just 591 in 2012.

“The violence is very rare. But there’s always that risk,” he concluded.