Police in Timmins, Ont., who had staked out a perimeter around a Canadian Tire store for much of Wednesday following a break-in that had targeted weapons, said late in the day the suspect was not in the store and likely hadn’t been there since soon after the break-in.

Police are asking the public to take precautions as they believe firearms were stolen during the break-in.

The incident began after police responded to a call about 4:30 a.m. regarding a break-in at the Canadian Tire on Riverside Drive. 

For hours, barricades were in place as police converged on the area, though it now appears the suspect escaped early in the morning.

Kate Cantin, a spokeswoman for Timmins police, said the Ontario Provincial Police tactical unit searched the store with a canine unit.

“No suspects or individuals were located inside the Canadian Tire building,” she said, adding that the perimeter in that area has been lifted.

“It’s no longer believed that the suspects or individuals involved are currently in that area.”

Guns target of break-in

Cantin said the target of the break-in was guns, but it’s not yet clear how many firearms were taken from the store.

“The public is still advised to use precautions, however, as I said, the perimeter of the area has been lifted at this time.”

Cantin said it’s likely the suspect, who is a man, got out of the building early in the day “before police were able to fully contain the building.”

There was no information on where the suspect might have headed, but Cantin said it’s believed to be just one individual involved.

Journalist Martine Laberge said earlier in the day that police believed there was a person armed with a long gun who was either in the store or in the broader perimeter.

Timmins police Insp. Mike McGinn said “the target of the break-in was firearms and there are firearms that have been removed,” The Canadian Press reported earlier Wednesday.

“Anything that would be within line of sight of a high-powered weapon we have evacuated,” he said at that time.

Police said earlier in the day that the perimeter around the scene had been expanded for public safety reasons.

Timmins standoff

Ontario Provincial Police were assisting Timmins police Wednesday. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

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