A day at the mall turned into a terrifying ordeal for three Winnipeg teens who were robbed and held captive by a group of crazed strangers.
Police sources told the Free Press the 90-minute attack Saturday afternoon near Polo Park may have been part of a gang initiation in which the innocent victims were randomly targeted.
One of the five attackers wore a "scary clown mask" during the incident, while another called himself "the Slicer" or "the Slitter" while wielding a large knife. Sources told the Free Press the accused identified themselves as members of a local street gang. No arrests have been made.
The three victims -- two 18-year-old women and an 18-year-old man -- had just left the mall around 4 p.m. following an afternoon of shopping. Police say they headed to the creek under the railway bridge just east of Empress Street and Westway Avenue.
"They were going to take pictures of the graffiti and hang out for a little bit," a friend of the group said in a recap of the incident on her Facebook page.
That's when trouble began. As they sat near the edge of the water, police say five men approached and asked them for a cigarette.
Moments later, the men pulled out a knife and ordered them to hand over all of their property -- smartphones, cash and debit cards. They assaulted the male victim and demanded all turn over their personal identification numbers so they could withdraw money from their accounts.
"They threatened to kill them if they didn't co-operate. They not only took pictures of them (the victims) but also took their IDs with addresses and threatened harm to their families if they went to the police," said the friend.
The victims were held at knifepoint while others went to a bank machine to take out cash using their PINs. They were finally allowed to flee around 5:30 p.m. Police were called later that evening.
Although there were no injuries, friends say the trio was "traumatized and scared" by what occurred. Police are now seeking public assistance. Detailed descriptions have been released on all five.
-- Male, aboriginal in appearance, 20 years old, 6-0, heavy build, short, dark hair, scraggly goatee, possible hickeys on his neck and scars on his legs. He was wearing a black T-shirt with a white logo "COOGI" on the front and tan shorts. He referred to himself as "the Slitter" or "the Slicer." He was in possession of a knife.
-- Male, aboriginal in appearance, 20 years old, tall, skinny build, brown spot or bump on the white area of his right eye, pockmarked face and a small tattoo on his left forearm. He was wearing a hat.
-- Male, aboriginal in appearance, 20 years old, 5-11, medium build, clean-cut, "Anderson" tattoo on the underside of his left forearm and dark brown, slightly longer hair. He was wearing a black hoodie and jeans.
-- Male, aboriginal in appearance, 20 years old, 5-6, heavier build, flatter face and acne on the top of his chest and lower back area. He was not wearing a shirt but was wearing black basketball shorts and a black-brimmed hat.
-- Male, aboriginal in appearance, 20 years old, 5-7, average build, light shorter hair, buckteeth, wearing a black T-shirt with white designs, black shorts, black hat and was referred to as "Jordon" by other suspects. He was in possession of and wore a "scary clown mask" at one point during the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call 204-986-2877 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).