Toronto police arrested a suspected serial killer out of fear for a young man's life, sources say. The man—who was seeking a sexual encounter, per the CBC—was found restrained but unharmed in Bruce McArthur's apartment on Jan. 18; police had the 66-year-old landscaper under surveillance and observed the young man entering the 19th-floor unit, police sources tell the Toronto Star. McArthur is now charged with the murders of five men, aged 44 to 58, who disappeared between 2012 and 2017; three people's remains ended up in two concrete planters at a client's home. Police are reportedly probing some 30 properties linked to McArthur's landscaping business as part of what the Star says is "poised to become the most ambitious homicide investigation in Toronto's history."
Toronto police Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga says the investigation is "unprecedented" in scale, with the CBC reporting properties visited by McArthur are located across the Greater Toronto Area. "I have seen large-scale investigations before with dozens and dozens of officers working on them. We've never seen anything quite like this," Idsinga tells the Star. The Global News quotes him as saying on Monday that authorities will excavate "at least two sites ... where people might be buried." It's not clear how McArthur knew all of his alleged victims, but investigators say he was in a relationship with one of the men and was known in Toronto's Gay Village. He'll next appear in court Feb. 14. (McArthur also worked as a mall Santa.)