07/28/2015 08:49 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Police arrest 10 in string of TTC ticket booth robberies

Toronto police believe they have arrested those responsible for 12 armed robberies that happened between March 7 to May 28 of this year.

Police hold-up squad Staff Insp. Mike Earl outlined the way police arrested 10 people and laid 140 charges in the robberies — an investigation police called Project Castle. 

Earl said the hold-up squad began looking at connections in the robberies, which included five TTC ticket booths, gas stations, donut shops, financial institutions and grocery stores.

On April 28, for instance, Earl said Donlands station ticket booth was held up with a handgun by individuals with scarves or bandanas concealing their faces. That same day, a Sak's Fine Foods was held up under similar circumstances.

On May 25, a Scotiabank, Tim Horton's and gas station on Kingston Road were also held up under similar circumstances. Earl said the similarities between the robberies proved it was "obviously the same people."

But the break in the case came on May 28, when police say the suspects sped away from a robbery and, in their haste, collided with a tree. They left the vehicle on foot. Police were able to connect the vehicle to one of the men arrested.

In total, Earl said six people were responsible for the robberies, and four others had auxiliary charges such as conspiracy charges.

The group was reselling TTC tickets they had stolen in online marketplaces.

'This is good news'

TTC CEO Andy Byford was on hand to express his gratitude to police.

"This is good news. This is the news we have been waiting for," he said. 

Byford said the TTC are progressively removing large amounts of cash from stations to remove the incentive to rob them. TTC stations will be moving to the Presto system next year.

Byford also said the transit authority's CCTV system helped the police with "compelling evidence."

He said these arrests send a clear message to those thinking about robbing TTC booths.

"If anyone out there thinks they can rob TTC facilities with impunity, they are wrong," said Byford.