Man accused of stealing zoo animals found dead in church parking lot: police

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV TorontoPublished Thursday, March 28, 2019 6:16PM EDTLast Updated Friday, March 29, 2019 8:01AM EDT

Toronto-area police have identified a 22-year-old man found shot to death Wednesday in a church parking lot, and they’re appealing to the public as they search for three suspects.

York Regional Police say the body of Alex Perlmutter of Sunderland, Ont. was found lying between two vehicles in the parking lot of Churchill Community Church in Whitchurch-Stoufville, Ont., about 48 kilometres northeast of Toronto.

No arrests have been made. Police are searching for three male suspects who fled the scene in a black or dark-coloured SUV.

Police confirmed that Perlmutter was arrested and charged in 2018 in connection with the theft of a lemur, a monkey, and a tortoise from the Elmvale Jungle Zoo.

Police have not offered any motive in the man’s death or identified any suspects.

On Thursday, investigators were seen at a second parking lot about 16 kilometres north using metal detectors to comb the scene. A car with extensive front damage and deployed airbags was parked near the road.

Investigators say the second parking lot, located at Queensville Side Road and Highway 48, was the site of the shooting, and that the victim was driven to the church parking lot by a witness.

Police have released brief descriptions of three suspects.

The first suspect is described as a black male with cornrows wearing a camo sweater and track pants. Police say he was armed with a firearm.

The second suspect is described as a black male wearing blue shoes. He is shorter than the other two suspects.

The third suspect is described as a black male wearing a large chain. He is about the same height as the first suspect.

Investigators say the victim was shot at a separate location and driven to the church parking lot.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide Unit at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7865, or email the Homicide Unit at homicide@yrp.ca, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or leave an anonymous tip online at www.1800222tips.com.

Police are also asking anyone in the area with security cameras to check their footage.

RT YRP: HOMICIDE UPDATE: The victim found in Whitchurch-Stouffville has been identified as Alex PERLMUTTER, 22, of Sunderland. Investigators have confirmed the shooting took place at Queensville Side Rd & Hwy 48, East Gwillimbury. 3 male suspects fled in a black SUV.

— York Regional Police (@YRP) March 28, 2019

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