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Suspect on the lam after Toronto police shut down ‘organized-theft operation’

Police tape marking a crime scene.

JOHN LEHMANN/The GLOBE AND MAI

A man and three women face dozens of charges, and a fifth suspect is on the run, after police in Scarborough dismantled what they described as an organized-theft operation specializing in electronics and jewellery outlets.

All the thefts were committed in Toronto but investigators suspect the scope of the alleged scheme was far larger, linked to similar thefts in York, Peel, and Halton regions, Hamilton, Ottawa, Alberta and British Columbia.

Anxious for public input, police released photos of the accused, including a highly unusual image of a 28-year-old woman wearing a hijab, the Muslim head covering, while allegedly participating in one of the thefts.

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One of the group would distract store employees while others would open locked display cases with a special key, police said.

The value of the stolen goods, together with other items recovered, was placed at close to $100,000.

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At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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