Vicious gang sought by police
By Becky Somerville
A Friday night assault at the Wave, which left two people shaken and sore, may be related to a series of other victimizations perpetrated by a gang of well-dressed criminals.
Coined the "preppy gang" for carrying cellular phones and driving expensive cars, the group is assumed by police to be responsible for several violent attacks in the Richmond Row area, including an incident outside The Shot on Aug. 26 where four men were assaulted.
According to Mark Wellington, manager at the Wave, a fight involving a number of men carrying cell phones erupted around the pool table. When an off-duty supervisor attempted to break up the altercation he was allegedly physically assaulted by several of the men.
When the victim's girlfriend attempted to intercede, she was also allegedly attacked by two of the males. "They punched her quite violently in the middle of the chest and knocked her down," Wellington said.
The incident, which occured before midnight, prompted Wave staff to immediately call the University Police Department and the door staff expelled the perpetrators, Wellington said.
The attackers fled the scene before the UPD could lay any charges, he added.
"We don't have any firm facts," Wellington said of the potential connection of the aggressors to the gang. "We feel it's a very good guess."
He said the Wave is reviewing its security procedures to ensure this type of incident will not recur.
Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the London Police Department said he could not confirm an association between Friday's incident and the gang, but the police's Community Oriented Response unit is working on intelligence to find out who the members of the group are.
O'Flaherty explained there have been five or six vicious beatings in the downtown area where a group swarms its victims in what seems to be an attempt to intimidate them.
"They've picked on persons who appear to be weaker than they are," he said. "Probably alone they'd be very meek and mild but together they're dangerous."
University Students' Council president Ian Armour said it does not seem there is a particular target of this series of violence but students should take precautions and stay in groups and use Foot Patrol.
"It would be unfair and discriminatory to announce the rumours I've been hearing and say who it was," he said of the prospect the attack may have been gang-related.
Armour said security is being stepped up at the Wave and he commended its staff for immediately taking care of the problem. "The Wave staff dealt with the situation quickly and cleanly," he said.
Const. Wendy McGowan of the UPD said the case is under investigation and urged anyone who witnessed the assault or has any information to call the police or Crime Stoppers.
The UPD is working with the LPD and the rest of the community to solve the problem and apprehend those responsible, she added.