Airdrie RCMP has arrested and charged five male youth offenders for an incident at CrossIron Mills mall near Balzac Oct. 27, according to Alberta RCMP Media Spokesman Cpt. Curtis Peters. Because the five are youth offenders, their names are not being released.
Dozens of shoppers were affected after the five accused discharged bear spray at the busy mall, according to Peters. Initial RCMP reports indicated the involvement of only four individuals, however, Peters said there were actually five involved.
“Through the course of the investigation, we determined there was another individual involved who wasn’t necessarily featured on the video and images that we had,” he said.
The five – who are 12 and 13 years of age – are all charged with robbery, possession of stolen property and two counts each of assault with a weapon. All but one of the suspects has been released from custody.
Peters said the incident took place at approximately 7:15 p.m. in the food hall at CrossIron Mills. Six people required treatment by EMS and an additional 20 suffered the ill effects of the bear spray.
According to Peters, the group of five young men entered the mall after arriving in a stolen vehicle.
Peters said the five entered the food court and attempted to steal a number of tip jars from the various vendors.
“When confronted by some of the employees, one of them pulled out a can of bear spray and sprayed one of the employees as well as a citizen who tried to intervene and stop him from fleeing,” he said.
“That individual happened to have their young child standing right next to them so that child also was contaminated.”
The suspects ran from the mall and fled in a silver Hyundai Elantra with Alberta License Plate BVV0131. Peters said the vehicle had previously been reported stolen from Calgary.
Thanks to tips from the public, police were able to track the five suspects to Calgary. They were arrested Oct. 31 by Airdrie RCMP with the assistance of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) at three locations in Calgary, including one school.
Peters said the investigation is ongoing and RCMP is working to determine if there are additional individuals involved. The stolen vehicle has not yet been recovered.