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December Bus Hijacking Didn't Happen

The TTC bus driver who claimed in December that he’d been held up at gunpoint and forced to take his hijacker on a “joyride” through the downtown core, has been charged with public mischief, accused of fabricating the whole incident. The Toronto Star has more details.

The driver told police a man with a gun had boarded the vehicle near Bay and Wellesley Sts. shortly before 2 p.m. and demanded he take him on a joyride around the city.

After about an hour of driving the man around the downtown core, the hijacker fled the vehicle near Queen and Church Sts., the driver told police.

As officers began sweeping the area for any sign of the reputed gunman, however, investigators began finding holes in the driver’s story.

“It was a big investigation then because we thought we had a gunman on the loose,” said Det. Const. Chris Hominuk. That sense of urgency wouldn’t last long.

Blog TO notes that this incident, while probably an isolated case of a rogue driver, is still a black mark on the TTC’s credibility in its campaign to improve the safety of its employees. It also notes the role the media played in playing up this incident, possibly contributing needlessly to the atmosphere of fear that this incident generated, although it’s important to note that the police (and thus the media) had to take this issue seriously because, if true, it meant that a gunman was on the loose.

In any event, the final word goes to Torontoist:

Our conclusion the day after the hijacking (after a teenaged boy was shot at Yonge and Dundas, also under somewhat suspicious circumstances) was that “Toronto may be many things, and many master statuses and over-arching defining labels can be used to describe our city. “Dangerous,” however, just isn’t one.” But “strange” probably is, and a little skepticism in this weird place — especially from our media outlets — is always a good thing.