Convicted bank robber getaway driver for teen: Cops
A Toronto Police cruiser (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun files)
A 30-year-old man with a history of robbing banks — who was once called “an urban terrorist” by a judge — faces charges for a new string of heists in Toronto.
But this time, Toronto Police claim the convicted bank robber acted as the getaway driver for a 15-year-old bandit.
“He probably realized if he walked into a bank we were going to recognize him from the security video because we’ve had contact with him in the past,” Acting Insp. Domenic Di Passa, who heads up the Hold-Up Squad, alleged Wednesday.
He said the accused could have worn a ski mask to hide his identity, but that disguise tends to attract unwanted attention.
So instead it’s alleged the man waited in a nearby vehicle while a teenage boy held up 10 banks between Aug. 10 and Oct. 6.
In the final heist — which unfolded barely an hour after another bank job — a bandit walked into a bank in the area of Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Mimico Ave. wearing sunglasses and a hoodie.
“He approached the teller and presented a note demanding cash and (stating) that he had a gun,” Di Passa said, explaining the bandit was given an undisclosed quantity of money.
But the crook didn’t get away with the cash that time.
Police received a call during the holdup and responding officers arrived in time to catch a suspect while he was still inside the bank. Di Passa alleged he then told arresting officers about the getaway driver parked outside.
As cops approached the suspect vehicle, the driver took off and a pursuit ensued.
“The driver eventually bailed out and took off on foot, but he was caught after a brief foot chase,” Di Passa said.
A 15-year-old North York boy, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces 10 counts each of robbery and wearing a disguise with intent.
Leonardo Peralta, also of North York, is charged with 10 counts of robbery and one count of dangerous driving.
In 2008 at age 20, Peralta was sentenced to eight years behind bars after pleading guilty to charges stemming from three bank robberies in Ottawa on Aug. 10, 2007 and another six Toronto bank jobs earlier that summer.
During sentencing, Justice Peter Griffiths reportedly called him “an urban terrorist” for threatening bank staff with the claim of being armed with a gun or bomb. Court heard Peralta wanted the money to feed a drug habit he’d had since age 14.
In April 2014, Peralta was arrested by Toronto cops and accused of robbing three banks in the city’s west end the month before.
“He was acquitted of those charges,” Di Passa said.
TEN BANK HEISTS IN TWO MONTHS
- Aug. 10: Bank near Kipling Ave. and Rexdale Blvd., 12:25 p.m.
- Aug. 17: Bank near Weston Rd. and Finch Ave. W., 2:58 p.m.
- Aug. 22: Bank near Avenue Rd. and Lawrence Ave. W., 12:48 p.m.
- Aug. 31: Bank near Weston Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W., 3:10 p.m.
- Sept.1: Bank near Allen and Rimrock Rds., 12:43 p.m.
- Sept. 10: Bank near St. Clair Ave. W. and Oakwood Ave., 3:05 p.m.
- Sept. 19: Bank near St. Clair Ave. W. and Lansdowne Ave., 10:57 a.m.
- Sept. 19: Bank near Eglinton Ave. W. and Marlee Ave., 11:50 a.m.
- Oct. 6: Bank near Jane St. and St. Clair Ave. W., 11:40 a.m.
- Oct. 6: Bank near Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Mimico Ave., 12:48 p.m.