You must be aged at least 35 to be President of the United States, 21 to buy liquor in America, 18 to vote, 16 to drive a car and consent to sex in Canada, and 14 to fly a drone.
Legally, 13-year-olds can barely do anything risky.
Illegally, it is a different story. So it was with great dismay but not total surprise that when police officers in Toronto’s northeastern suburbs responded to a 911 call of a violent armed bank robbery in progress on Wednesday night, they arrived to find four injured tellers, two with stab wounds, and three masked boys allegedly running away.
Chasing them with dogs into a construction site, overseen by a helicopter, police cornered and arrested three young people, including a 13-year-old boy from Mississauga who now faces charges of robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault, disguise with intent, and several other charges.
ROBBERY UPDATE: The suspects ages 16, 15 and 13, are now facing serious charges including Robbery with a Firearm, Aggravated Assault and several other charges. The investigation is ongoing
— York Regional Police (@YRP) February 20, 2020
“It definitely has been shocking for our community,” said Constable Laura Nicolle of York Regional Police, though she said robberies by children are not entirely unheard of.
The youngest accused, 13, is barely old enough to be charged with a crime. The lower limit is 12, below which a child can be arrested, but will be treated as a child in need of protection, not a criminally accused person.
Even if this child is found guilty, under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, he is not old enough to be sentenced as an adult, as in some of the more serious cases involving young offenders. The cutoff for that is 14, but it is typically used only for the most heinous crimes such as murder or aggravated sexual assault.
The best known borderline case was a girl from Medicine Hat, Alberta, who participated with her older boyfriend in the murders of her parents and brother in 2006. She was 12 at the time of the murders, 13 when she was convicted, and has since served her sentence.
The alleged child robbers might even have got away with it, had it not been for a man watching from outside the bank who called 911.
The boys had allegedly rolled up to an RBC branch in Markham at the 8pm closing time, armed with guns and knives, in a Chevrolet Impala that had been stolen a few days ago in a violent car-jacking in Toronto, in which the victim was stabbed.
They reportedly bolted on foot when the first officer arrived, and made it into a subdivision development site. Police set up a perimeter, a helicopter was called in, and eventually dogs found them hiding in a house under construction.
Three young teens arrested-incl 13 y/o boy-after violent bank robbery in Markham. 4 ppl inside were hurt. Passersby called 911. Police dogs tracked bandits to construction site. Police believe trio also responsible for other similar robberies in GTA.
— carl hanstke (@carl680) February 20, 2020
Const. Nicolle said it is not clear from the case information whether the suspects got away with any money. They are all charged with possession of property obtained by crime, which could be money, but could also be the car.
One of the older boys, aged 15, is additionally charged with breaching probation terms. None can be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police allege it was the two older boys, aged 15 and 16, who wielded the guns, one a real handgun, the other a replica. They allege the 13-year-old was responsible for some of the injuries by kicking victims in the face.
The victims who were taken to hospital, three men and a woman, are expected to recover from serious injuries. The two victims with stab wounds were men. All were bank employees.
It was about an hour from the first 911 call to the tweet from police announcing the arrests.
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