Trio of teen girls accused in assault, attempted robbery at The Forks
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/06/2022 (338 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A father and daughter were assaulted at The Forks after they refused to hand over cash to a group of teenage robbers in a “brazen” incident at the downtown tourist destination, police say.
Officers responded to the parking lot in front of The Forks Market building at about 8 p.m. Monday for a report of an assault in progress, the Winnipeg Police Service said Tuesday.
Police located two adults who said they were confronted by a group of unfamiliar girls. After demanding cash, the suspects began to punch, and later kick, the man on the head when he didn’t respond to the command.
The man’s daughter called 911 and then the group attacked her, smashing her cellphone before running away.
Officers quickly found three suspects and arrested them, while others fled, police said. The man was taken to hospital in stable condition.
One of the two victims was visiting Winnipeg from out of town, police told the Free Press.
“It is very concerning,” WPS spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said of the public robbery attempt.
“The weather is nice, more people are out and about, and for those people who are looking to take advantage — to get money, to get cellphones, to do crimes of opportunity involving assaults and robberies — that’s why they’re going (to busy places).”
The location — directly in front of the busy market building — was of note.
“There’s obviously going to be some (closed circuit television footage), there’s security around, and there will be an abundance of witnesses around,” McKinnon said. “But the people perpetuating these crimes are just getting more and more brazen.”
She said general patrol and community support police try to patrol busy areas such as The Forks regularly.
“Our general patrol will often just drive by (The Forks) whether they’re pre-emptively in between calls or getting from one call to another, that’s a fairly major route that they use.”
Jenna Khan, spokeswoman for The Forks, said security is a priority for the gathering place.
“We work closely with the Winnipeg Police Service, have our own 24-7 site security team, and are constantly reviewing our security protocols and procedures,” she said Tuesday in an email.
“While this is an extremely rare occurrence, we are unfortunately not immune to crime in our city.”
Two girls, 13 and 15, are facing robbery-related charges and have been released on undertakings. Police have issued a warrant for a 14-year-old girl for similar charges.
The trio had been taken into custody initially. Upon further investigation, police determined the third teen would also face charges but had to issue a warrant to locate the teen following her release.
“It is a concern,” McKinnon said of the ages of the accused. “The youths that are involved in (violent crimes), they are often involved in a gang… (or) are potentially involved in the drug trade… but that is not always the rule.”
Kevin Savoy, 53, rode his motorcycle to The Forks for a day out with family, including his two daughters in their 20s. The assault, however, put him on edge, he said Tuesday.
“It should be a gathering place for families here,” he said. “Shouldn’t have this kind of violence… It’s very bad for the city.”
Savoy said he’d like to see an increased police presence in the area and downtown, in general. “The downtown core is getting a little rough these days.”
Meanwhile, Josh Winchar, 20, was going to The Forks Market to hang out with friends.
“This world really is turning into something,” he said. “It seems kind of normal for Winnipeg — but it’s really unfortunate (for the victims).
“We come from the hood,” Winchar said of himself and two friends, when asked whether the assault gave him pause. “We kind of grew up seeing all this stuff — so it’s no surprise.”
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.