Toronto police say flower shop robberies linked
Toronto police say the suspects behind the murder of North York flower shop owner Felicia Hosany robbed a florist in York Region the night before.
"The similarities -- that I can't get in to -- are striking with regards to both boutiques on Feb. 27th and 28th," Det. Sgt. Steve Ryan said on Tuesday.
"There is no doubt in my mind they were committed by the same two suspects."
Hosany, 51, was found dead inside her store, Flowers by Felicia, last Thursday night. Her husband found her in the bathroom, bound with duct tape. The cause of death was "suffocation with ligature restraints."
Police said the night before, two masked men robbed a flower shop in York Region. They also duct-taped the clerk and ransacked the store, stealing, among other items, cash and a digital camera.
Ryan said Hosany's shop was also robbed of cash and a similar camera, a small silver Canon PowerShot. He said the camera is the key piece of evidence.
Police are asking anyone who may have received the camera as a gift, or purchased one on the street in the last couple of days, to contact investigators.
Ryan told reporters that two black men entered a shop in York Region on Feb. 12 and were acting strangely and asking bizarre question. The clerk was frightened, but the men left a couple of minutes without purchasing anything.
The next day, Hosany and a friend were inside her store at 10:30 p.m., long after the store closed, when two black men banged on the window.
After Hosany let them, they also asked bizarre questions, but left after about 15 minutes.
"The witness that was with Felicia at the time thought they were going to be robbed," Ryan said.
Police say the incidents in North York and York Region are linked, and are urging the suspects to surrender.
Detectives believe the North York incident is a robbery that escalated into murder.
Hosany, who owned the shop for the last 10 years, was a mother and about to become a grandmother. She was well known in the community.
Hosany's husband of 32 years is trying to come to grips with his devastating loss. Rafick blames himself, and believes he could have saved his wife's life if he had not worked two hours of overtime on the night she was killed. He always stopped by his wife's shop after work.
"Normally people wouldn't take a chance with two people there, right?" Rafick told CTV Toronto. "So I would have been there, or I could have been there and they could have killed both of us, but it would have been better."
Hosany's niece said she will miss her aunt, especially on her wedding day this fall.
"I'm gonna miss my best friend," Angela said, weeping. "I can't call her, she can't help me plan my wedding. She won't be here."
Hosany will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
Anyone with information that may help police in their investigation, including other store employers who have experienced similar experiences with the men, are asked to call 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or go online at www.222tips.com.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding