RCMP took no chances Sunday morning after a caller reported seeing three masked men with shotguns enter a Westmount house.
About a dozen police officers responded shortly before 9 a.m. and surrounded a rental home in the 1500 block of Collingwood at Venables Street.
Perimeter tape was strung across Collingwood before a police dog squad and additional officers were brought in. Several officers, their weapons drawn, took cover behind their vehicles.
“It’s high-risk — keep your distance,” one officer advised.
Two residents across the street were escorted out of the cordoned area, but there was no effort to evacuate neighbouring homes. Instead, neighbours watched from an adjacent townhouse property a stone’s throw away while others stood nearby in the street, wondering what brought out law enforcement in such numbers.
Some bystanders said the house has a reputation.
“They’re trying to return home,” explained Dylan Holland, who was waiting with two others in a vehicle down the street to return to their townhouse. The surrounded home appeared neglected at times and on at least two recent occasions, vandals had broken windows in the home, he said.
“It’s just always boarded up with blankets over the windows,” said Amber, who asked that her surname not be used. “We refer to the house as a crack house.”
After an hour or so, officers escorted a male and female from the home, but they seemed as mystified as the neighbours.
“What’s going on,” the woman asked, shivering in light clothing.
A half-hour later, the situation ended without incident and perimeter tape was pulled down.
Sgt. Ed Preto said RCMP received a call at 8:46 a.m. about men with shotguns and masks entering the house, which is known to police. They could not, however, reconnect with the caller, who is also known to them. They still had to take the precaution of clearing the house and ensuring no one was injured. None of the four residents was able to enlighten them.
“They did not report any activity,” Preto said.
“Sometimes people make calls to divert attention,” he theorized.
The matter remains under investigation.