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'Never taking public transit again': Victim of violent robbery speaks out; pair of teens charged


Cochrane, Alta., teenager Grace Urwin says she's "never taking public transit again" after being violently robbed in Calgary on Saturday.

"I have to save up all my money for a car," the 16-year-old said.

Urwin was riding the CTrain Saturday around 1:30 p.m., leaving from Tuscany Station, on her way to Market Mall with her friend.

After accidentally getting off at Dalhousie Station, she noticed two people watching her.

She jumped back on the train and headed for Brentwood Station, where she and her friend got off and headed toward the bus loop.

Cochrane, Alta., teenager Grace Urwin says she's "never taking public transit again" after being violently robbed in Calgary on Saturday.

Urwin says she went to look at the directory sign and that's when was physically attacked and bear-sprayed.

"They followed us over and pushed me against the sign, demanding I give them my shoes or I was going to get, quote-unquote, 'canned,' like bear-sprayed," she said.

"I just told them no and then they started wrestling me for my phone. They were punching me in the head and then they got my phone, ran off, and they sprayed me."

Urwin says she screamed out for help and awaited the assistance of paramedics and police.

"At the time, I was pretty scared," she said.

"I didn't know what they sprayed me with. I've never been sprayed with bear spray. It was just really scary to know that nobody around was going to do anything."

Police have charged a 17-year-old female and 17-year-old male with two counts of robbery each.

The male also faces a charge of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.

The pair were tracked down around 8:15 p.m. after reports of two people deploying bear spray in a CTrain car at 323 7 Ave. S.E.

Neither can be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

"Enforcement is a big key when it comes to addressing these issues," said District 3 Insp. Paul Wozney.

"We are continuing to do enforcement. You can't have a system that continually just shoos people away, puts them into other public spaces without charge. I can speak for the members of District 3 -- we're taking a zero-tolerance approach to this."

Urwin's mother, Julie, says she was scared for her daughter's safety after receiving a call from paramedics.

"Just panic. It was just two friends going out for lunch to the mall," she said.

"Either she gets herself a car or I'll drive her everywhere."

Calgary Transit says it takes all acts of violence and crime seriously and has stepped up patrols in recent months.

Aaron Coon, chief of public vehicle standards, says one-time funding from council earlier this year to step up patrols has had a significant impact, and overall crime is actually trending downward at transit shelters and CTrain platforms.

Thirty-two more peace officers are currently being trained, 12 of whom are experienced and will be on patrol in September.

The remainder will be on patrol by November.

"Right now, in the summer, we see that things are a little bit slower with some of the concerns on transit just because of some of that displacement through seasonality," Coon said.

"For example, in some of our coldest months in the winter, we see about 135 people on the transit system sheltering in place that we work with our outreach program to support, to a 78 per cent decrease during the summer months where we're averaging about 30 to 40 people at the end of service." Top Stories

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