This isn't something you hear every day. A 23-year-old Ontario man was arrested for stealing a hotel clerk's cellphone using a musical instrument. The "harmonica robbery" incident occurred on New Year's Day at the Delta by Marriott Hotel in Thunder Bay.

In a news release, Thunder Bay police explain they were called to the Delta at the 2000 block of Sleeping Giant Parkway on January 1, 2020 after 10:30 p.m. for reports of a robbery. 

When officers arrived soon after, they were informed the male suspect had walked up to the front desk and brazenly taken a cell phone that belonged to the hotel clerk.

When the clerk confronted him, the suspect flashed a metal object that made the phone's owner believe it was a firearm. The man then apparently made threats to the employee.

Police managed to track the device by GPS to the area of Red River Road and St. Paul Street. There, they found a man matching the "armed" robber's description.

According to Thunder Bay-based outlet NetNewsLedger, the suspect told officers the metal object was actually a harmonica and not a firearm.

That proved to be the truth, as he then led officers to where the stolen cell phone was located, along with the harmonica. According to, he had discarded the phone and the instrument in a nearby parking lot.

A 23-year-old man has been charged with robbery with an offensive weapon, breach of probation, and failure to comply with a judicial release, according to the police release.

He was expected to appear in bail court on Thursday, Jan. 2. Police say the investigation is still ongoing.

Regarding the charge of using an offensive weapon, Canada's criminal code states that robbery with an offensive weapon is committed by anyone who steals from any person "while armed with an offensive weapon or imitation thereof."

The harmonica is an unusual twist, though, we'll give you that.

It's also just the latest crime in a list of slightly bizarre incidents.

Back in October, a Toronto man was drunk while driving and drove right to a police station. We call that laying the groundwork yourself.

And just about a month ago, two amateur carjackers notoriously failed to steal a car because they didn't know how to drive stick.

Meanwhile, just days ago, somebody in Waterloo Region fired paintballs at a horse and buggy from a white pickup truck.

Things don't get much weirder than that.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

This cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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