By: Mike Anderson
James Taylor, 38, was arrested on January 22 for a string of break and enters, including those that occurred in Sutton on Saturday, January 11, according to Detective Sergeant James Woodcock, who’s in charge of the Criminal Investigations Bureau for District #3.
The arrest followed a joint investigation between York Regional Police #5 (Markham), #1 (Newmarket) and #3 (Sutton) District Property Crime Teams.
According to YRP, investigators with the York Regional Police #5 District Criminal Investigations Bureau began investigating a commercial break and enter that occurred on December 14, 2019, at a restaurant located on Woodbine Avenue in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
During the rest of December and into January 2020, officers responded to a high volume of similar commercial break and enters throughout the City of Markham, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, the Town of Newmarket and the Town of Georgina.
Through the investigation and the evidence obtained, officers were able to identify the suspect and linked him to a total of 27 incidents.
Mr. Taylor, who lives in Sutton, is due for a bail hearing on January 24 in Newmarket on 27 counts of breaking and entering.
Mr. Taylor is accused of targeting four businesses in Sutton: Black River Coffee, Elio Ristorante, Stretch Thrift Outlet, and the Esso gas station on Hwy-48.
He is also charged with a break and enter at the Jiffy Lube in Keswick.
In Sutton, most of the break-ins were completed in less than a minute after the accused gained entry by throwing objects through glass entry doors, triggering alarms.
According to video surveillance footage, the accused acted alone and casually walked to and from each store he robbed, a total of some two kilometres.
All of the Sutton break-ins occurred in the early morning hours of January 11, between midnight and 2 a.m..
At each store, the accused grabbed the cash till, later discarding it outside after pocketing the money. In most cases, there was little or no cash in the till.
However, there was considerable property damage to all four local businesses, including four glass entry doors shattered.
Total damages for the businesses is estimated to be in the range of $5,000 to $10,000.
Mr. Taylor is known to police. According to media reports, in February 2008, he was charged with attempted murder, robbery, possession of a dangerous weapon and breaching probation. The charges stemmed from an attack on a Georgina taxi driver.
Elio Riccelli, owner of Elio’s Ristorante, incurred the most damage during the break-ins, his loses are estimated to be between $2,500 to $3,000. And, like many of the other businesses, his insurance deductible is high, so he will be out of pocket for most of the repairs.
While he’s glad the police caught the suspect, he’s concerned that if he’s granted bail, he may re-offend.
“Don’t let him come out with a slap on the wrist,” he says. “He needs to be punished, and he needs to stay in jail for a long time. Because he’s going to come out and do it again.”
Elaine Coates, owner of Black River Coffee, is a little more forgiving. She hopes this might be a wake-up call for the accused.
“Maybe this is what’s going to save his life. Maybe going in and getting cleaned-up and smartened-up. Maybe that’s a good outcome for everyone.”
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