An east Toronto building superintendent has been charged with stealing from tenants in his units.

"I would say ... it's pretty unusual," Const. Troy Lashley of the Toronto Police Service told on Wednesday.

Police allege in a news release that the suspect entered residential apartments in the Kingston Road and Queen Street East area. They allege that money and electronics were taken.

The investigation began on Dec. 30.

Lashley said no tenant caught a suspect in the act. "There's not a smoking gun," he said.

But there was no sign of forced entry into any of the apartments, he said. "The person that was entering these apartments was using a key. None of these tenants lent their keys out or lost their keys or anything like that."

In one case, the tenant changed the lock. "Only the landlord and tenant had a key, and she was broken into again," Lashley said. "Same MO."

John Shorey, 39, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Eight counts of break and enter
  • Eight counts of criminal breach of trust
  • Theft under $5,000
  • Threatening death

He has a court appearance scheduled for Friday.

Dan McIntyre of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations said landlords are constrained as to the conditions under which they can enter tenants' units -- and they can't steal once they are in there.

Landlords or their designates can enter a tenant's unit in emergency situations such as flooding or fire as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act, he said.

Under that act, they can enter a unit for routine repairs with 24 hours notice, he said.

"One of the reason for that specification in the act is so that tenants will know the landlord is in the unit," McIntyre said.

"It's your private home. You're paying for the private, exclusive use, and the act allows for certain exceptions to that. Other than that, the superintendent has no business being in your apartment any more than I do or you do," he said.

For that reason, landlords have to be careful about who they hire as building managers, he said.