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Two London men arrested after vehicle stolen during armed home invasion crashes on QEW in St. Catharines

Dale Carruthers

By Dale Carruthers, The London Free Press

An OPP cruiser. Postmedia Network file photo

An OPP cruiser. Postmedia Network file photo

Police charged four people, including a 13-year-old boy, with multiple gun and weapons offences after a vehicle that was stolen during an armed home invasion in London crashed in St. Catharines a day later.

Niagara OPP responded to a two-vehicle collision on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) near Glendale Street in St. Catharines on Wednesday at 1:19 p.m. Nobody was injured, but one of the vehicles left the scene.

Witnesses gave police information that led them to determine the fleeing vehicle had been reported stolen from London and was linked to a home invasion with firearms, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Friday.

OPP officers stopped the vehicle a short time later on the QEW near Ontario Street. Three males ran away and a fourth was arrested. The OPP alerted Niagara regional police to the suspects on the lam.

“They saturated the area with all their available units,” Schmidt said.

Niagara officers arrested the three suspects, seizing a large amount of stolen property and a loaded gun, Schmidt said.

Londoners Juan Franco-Palacio, 23, Clinton Yanga, 18, and two Toronto teens, 13 and 16, are charged with nearly a dozen different offences, including possession of a loaded restricted firearm, possession of a firearm obtained by crime, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, resisting a peace officer, failure to remain at the scene of a crash and dangerous driving.

London police confirmed the crashed vehicle was stolen from a Mornington Avenue residence during a home invasion-style robbery on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. Nobody was injured in the incident, Const. Sandasha Bough said.

Bough wouldn’t say whether multiple guns were involved, citing the ongoing investigation.

Investigators in London are probing whether the four people arrested, all of whom remain in custody in St. Catharines, were involved in the home invasion, but no charges have been laid against them, Bough said.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

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