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Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Series of stabbings hit Winnipeg

Posted: 07/3/2014 12:13 PM

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A disturbing trend in local crime has emerged in the last four days. Five separate stabbing incidents--one of them a double stabbing--are currently being investigated by Winnipeg police.

"You can never predict when these type of incidents will occur, but certainly in the last few days we have had a number of stabbings, which is very serious news unfortunately," said Const. Eric Hofley this morning.

The first incident happened on Monday at the 600 block of Boyd Avenue around 9:30 p.m.

A 71-year-old man discovered an unknown woman on his porch and asked if she would like a glass of water. When the woman accepted, the man went inside his home to get her a drink and the woman followed him indoors then struck him from behind.

A more physical confrontation ensued and the suspect produced a weapon and stabbed the victim in the upper body before fleeing the scene. She stole a few items from the residence before leaving.

The victim was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police are still on the lookout for the suspect.

She is described as aboriginal in appearance, 25-30 years old, with a medium build and long black hair. She was wearing loose black pants, a dark-coloured short sleeve shirt and black shoes. She was also carrying a black backpack.

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The second stabbing happened on Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. Police were called to the 1500 block of Regent Avenue West with reports that a man had been stabbed.

A 34-year-old man was found with stab wounds to the upper body and transported to hospital in critical condition.

Investigations have found that the victim knew the suspect who stabbed him. A verbal argument broke out between the victim and the suspect that turned into a physical altercation. There were three other bystanders in the parking lot area when the argument occurred.

Police have an arrest warrant for a 27-year-old man named Michael Wereta. He is described as caucasian, 5'10" tall, 170 pounds with brown hair.

Wereta is considered to be armed and dangerous. If seen, he is not to be approached, but police should be notified immediately of his whereabouts.

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The third stabbing incident happened on July 2 just before 10 p.m. in the 1900 block of Portage Avenue, and Const. Hofley called the alleged circumstances, "bizarre".

A male suspect--who's described as possibly caucasian with darker skin, who's approximately 5'10" tall, in his early 20s with a slim build and brown hair--ran his bicycle into a parked vehicle downtown. 

There were two passengers in the vehicle. They got out of the car to see if the cyclist was alright and one of the passengers, a 44-year-old man, was stabbed by the suspect. The cyclist fled the scene on his bike.

"It's absolutely bizarre behaviour. What prompted this individual to do that hopefully we'll learn in this investigation," said Hofley.

The victim was taken to hospital in stable condition.

The suspect was wearing a red t-shirt and shorts, riding a silver mountain bike and was noted to be carrying two spare bicycle tires.

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A fourth stabbing happened around 5:00 a.m. this morning in the 300 block of Carlton Street.

Officers found two adult victims when they arrived on scene, one male and one female, both with stab wounds to the upper body. Both were taken to hospital, the woman in critical condition and the man unstable. They have both since been upgraded to stable condition.

An adult woman was arrested on the scene without incident and members of the District 1 Crime Unit are continuing to investigate the incident.

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On Canada Day, two homicides were reported, one of them a double stabbing that left one man dead and another in critical condition.

The double stabbing happened around 10:15 p.m. near the corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue by the VIA Rail train station entrance at The Forks.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case.

Const. Hofley said that though there seems to have been a surge in crime around Canada Day, the day's celebrations were relatively calm.

"There were several celebrations throughout the city, an excess of 30,000 people at The Forks and we did have a few major incidents. But I think overall in speaking with people that were assigned to it, it was a relatively calm and happy celebration. Unfortunately a few events tend to mar or overshadow what actually happened the next day," he said.

Anyone with information on any of the stabbing incidents or alleged suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

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