09/17/2013 01:43 EDT | Updated 11/17/2013 05:12 EST

Home invasion targeted social housing residents

Toronto police have released images of two suspects they believe were involved in a violent home invasion that targeted a building for residents with a history of mental illness.

“These are vulnerable people with no connection to criminal activity,” said staff Insp. Mike Earl of the victims.

Police say two suspects, a man and a woman, entered a building at 184 Harbord St. on July 30. The building is operated by Houselink. According to its website, Houselink is a charity that “provides housing that makes it possible for people struggling with extreme poverty, mental health and addiction issues to pursue recovery and build meaningful lives on their own terms.”

After "using deceit" to get through the front door, the suspects stormed into an apartment, where they used a knife to steal cash, credit cards and personal items from a man and three women inside.

Police say at one point during the robbery, the male suspect held a knife to the male victim’s nose. The victims were in their 40s and 50s.

One of the victims screamed as they left the apartment causing a neighbour to approach the suspects.

Police say the male suspect responded by punching the neighbour — a 59-year-old woman — in the nose and taking a necklace she was wearing.

About 20 minutes after the robbery, a credit card belonging to one of the victims was used to purchase $2,000 worth of merchandise at a store on Queen Street West.

Images of the suspects distributed by police Tuesday were captured by store video cameras where the purchases were made.

Police say the suspects, a black man in his 20s and a black woman the same age, made a point of targeting victims with little ability to fight back.

“We’re hoping the public and the media can identify these two suspects," Earl said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416.808.7350 or Crime Stoppers at 416.222.8477.

Clink on the video link below to watch the police news conference.