In a series of unsettling incidents earlier this week, moviegoers in three Greater Toronto Area regions found themselves at the center of chaos and confusion as masked individuals sprayed an unknown substance into the air, prompting evacuations and raising concerns about public safety.
The first incident unfolded at a cinema complex in Vaughan, York, on Tuesday around 9:20 p.m. As patrons settled in for a Hindi film, the tranquil atmosphere was shattered when two masked men, clad in hoods, unleashed an “unknown, aerosol-based, irritating substance” into the theater. Approximately 200 people were present at the time, and pandemonium ensued as moviegoers began coughing and showing signs of exposure to the mysterious spray.
Swift action was taken by authorities, with several individuals receiving treatment for exposure and the theatre being evacuated. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported. However, the suspects managed to flee before the police arrived on the scene.
In a concerning twist, similar incidents were reported in Brampton and Scarborough on the same evening. Peel police confirmed responding to a theatre in Brampton following reports of a substance being sprayed, resulting in the evacuation of the premises. Toronto police also received a call about a “stink bomb” being set off in a Scarborough Town Centre theatre, leading to another evacuation.
Authorities are now exploring the possibility that these incidents are linked, given their close proximity in both time and location. York police stated that they were in communication with Peel and Toronto police to coordinate efforts in solving these mysterious cases.
No arrests have been made, leaving investigators to grapple with the challenge of unraveling the motive behind these unsettling events.
While hate crime has not been ruled out, police are cautious about jumping to conclusions. Sgt. Clint Whitney emphasized that there is “no obvious indication that this is a hate-motivated crime.” Nonetheless, the Hate Crime Prevention Unit has been notified and will be involved in the ongoing investigation.
Cineplex, the prominent entertainment company operating the affected theatres, assured the public of its cooperation with local authorities in a statement. Michelle Saba, a spokesperson for Cineplex, stated, “Our primary focus and commitment are the safety and well-being of our guests and our team,” thanking their teams for ensuring a safe evacuation process.
As the investigation unfolds, the Greater Toronto Area remains on edge, awaiting answers to the mystery behind these disturbing incidents that have disrupted the joy of a night at the movies for many.