Mugged man cries out for help

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Ignored by Toronto subway commuters

An elderly man who cried out for help as he was being mugged on a Toronto subway train received no assistance from other commuters, police said Monday.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on the train or why they ignored the plight of the 79-year-old victim.

Toronto -

An elderly man who cried out for help as he was being mugged on a Toronto subway train received no assistance from other commuters, police said Monday.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on the train or why they ignored the plight of the 79-year-old victim.

"It is disappointing," said Brad Ross, a spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission.

"People may feel intimidated about getting involved."

Police said the incident began when a person seated next to the victim asked him for change. The elderly man said he didn't have any and the person asked a second time.

A second person then asked him for money.

The victim tried to activate the passenger-assistance alarm - a yellow strip above the seats - but could not reach it, police said, and a fight ensued.

The attackers fled with his wallet when the train pulled into an east-end station and the victim gave chase, police said.

"He's apparently in really good shape," said police spokesman Const. Tony Vella.

"He chased after them. He tried his best to apprehend them."

The name of the victim was not released. The suspects are believed to be in their 20s.

Ross said other people on the Toronto subway car may have been concerned that pressing the alarm would have drawn attention to themselves, but stressed the alarm on subway cars is silent.

Pressing the strip alerts only the guard and driver, who then notify transit control and security officials before the train pulls into a station, he said.

"We do encourage customers, if they see another customer or passenger in distress - whether it's a medical incident or a criminal occurrence - to press the yellow strip," Ross said.

He said he did not know why the victim was unable to reach the alarm himself.

Police later found the wallet on the street near the Chester subway station. For investigative purposes, they would not say whether its contents were missing.

Transit officials said snatch-and-grabs of iPods or cellphones and similar items are fairly common.

However, a robbery of an elderly passenger is rare, Ross said.

Police were using security-cameras located throughout the system to try to identify the two thugs.

They are asking anyone who may have information on the incident to contact them.

As a safety tip, Vella urged riders to "be aware of their surroundings" and to know where the alarm is located.

Organizations: Toronto Transit Commission

Geographic location: Toronto, Chester

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Recent comments

  • peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I agree with Brian if it were done here in this city those offenders would get a beat down and learn a valuable lesson.And that is never to pick on someone up in age what if it were their mom or dad.

  • LOTTE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Brian i have to agree with you...I am a NFLD'er living in ontario for the past 25+ years...and to say the least - we Newfoundlanders are a true and proud kind of folk. I rememeber holding a door open for an elderly lady ...she was sooo appreciative...her words you must be from NFLD lol I smiled...we were taught well...and yes I agree if it would have been a train with a few newfies onboard the thugs might have gotten a little more than they bargained for...
    People in this city...FOR THEMSELVES. nothing more nothing less..self centred egotistical beings. Shallow and can't see past their own noses.

    Long gone are the days of helping one another. That true humanity only exists on the rock...believe me....

  • Tara
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I've been living in Toronto for 8 years, and this does not surprise me at all. I intervened in an incident on a streetcar last year, involving a junkie and a young woman. I realized that both the driver and the passengers were going to pretend nothing was happening, even though the streetcar was at a standstill and everyone was upset by the guy's abusive language and threatening manner. I literally kicked him off the car. Got a round of applause from the passengers, but all I could think was No way would this have happened back home. Six guys would have booted that jerk off, and they would not have left it to a small woman to deal with it. The streetcar was packed too.
    Yes, Toronto sucks. And that's why I'm moving back home.

  • Brain
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    This would not happen in Newfoundland.

    We would help.

    Some of us would take pleasure in pounding the cowards who did this to a senior citizen.

  • Patricia
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    How horrible for people to do nothing to help this man. What is wrong with these people? Shame on these people, is this how their going to handle crime in their province? Turn a blind eye. shame, shame, shame.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    What's our world coming to ?
    What a fearful, insecure way to have to live, or just try to survive.

  • peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I agree with Brian if it were done here in this city those offenders would get a beat down and learn a valuable lesson.And that is never to pick on someone up in age what if it were their mom or dad.

  • LOTTE
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Brian i have to agree with you...I am a NFLD'er living in ontario for the past 25+ years...and to say the least - we Newfoundlanders are a true and proud kind of folk. I rememeber holding a door open for an elderly lady ...she was sooo appreciative...her words you must be from NFLD lol I smiled...we were taught well...and yes I agree if it would have been a train with a few newfies onboard the thugs might have gotten a little more than they bargained for...
    People in this city...FOR THEMSELVES. nothing more nothing less..self centred egotistical beings. Shallow and can't see past their own noses.

    Long gone are the days of helping one another. That true humanity only exists on the rock...believe me....

  • Tara
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I've been living in Toronto for 8 years, and this does not surprise me at all. I intervened in an incident on a streetcar last year, involving a junkie and a young woman. I realized that both the driver and the passengers were going to pretend nothing was happening, even though the streetcar was at a standstill and everyone was upset by the guy's abusive language and threatening manner. I literally kicked him off the car. Got a round of applause from the passengers, but all I could think was No way would this have happened back home. Six guys would have booted that jerk off, and they would not have left it to a small woman to deal with it. The streetcar was packed too.
    Yes, Toronto sucks. And that's why I'm moving back home.

  • Brain
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    This would not happen in Newfoundland.

    We would help.

    Some of us would take pleasure in pounding the cowards who did this to a senior citizen.

  • Patricia
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    How horrible for people to do nothing to help this man. What is wrong with these people? Shame on these people, is this how their going to handle crime in their province? Turn a blind eye. shame, shame, shame.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    What's our world coming to ?
    What a fearful, insecure way to have to live, or just try to survive.