What would you do if someone broke into your residence while you were in the house?
This was the question faced by Brian Wang, a Richmond Hill father who heard a loud bang at 5 a.m. on Sept 23, 2017.
He checked his phone’s security system cameras and noticed two men outside his home trying to get in.
He acted quickly, picking up his kids, ages four and six, with his wife, and fleeing the family’s first-floor bedroom and bolting up the stairs.
Wang said the only time they faltered was when his wife realized they had left the family’s two small dogs downstairs, and she headed back to retrieve them.
Once in the master bedroom, the family locked the door and then the bathroom door while they were on the phone with 911.
The couple watched the surveillance as the men, wearing bandanas over their faces and sporting police and military garb, gained access to their home.
The men, Louis Ryan Lapointe and Sammy Thomson, pleaded guilty in connection with the break-in and were each sentenced to six years in prison.
Earlier that night, Wang hosted a poker game at his home, something he said he did regularly.
“I thought maybe it was a friend that came by late and they didn’t know we finished (the poker game) already,” he said. “(But when) I checked the camera, I realized there were two guys … and one of them is holding a huge rifle like a machine gun from a movie.”
Luckily for the Wangs, police arrived while the pair of armed intruders roamed the main floor.
One suspect told police they’d selected the residence after coming across information suggesting the home was an illegal gambling den.
During a preliminary hearing, Wang, who described himself as a financial adviser, insisted the twice-a-week poker games in his basement’s “man-cave” were for friends and associates he met through business.
“I’m a financial adviser during the day …. I’ve met a lot of successful real estate guys, business owners who became family friends and we’d get together and play poker,” he told the court in Newmarket during a preliminary hearing. “That night we actually had a poker game … about 10 to 15 guys.”
Wang admitted the games involved an approximate buy-in of between $500 and $1,000, and he usually hosted more than a couple professional players.
He further explained how, hours before, during that night’s poker game, two people had appeared at the game, one of whom runs an “underground game” and is very aggressive in recruiting players.
women's Timberland Nellie Timberland Nellie John Christie, the lawyer for defendant Louis Lapointe, suggested Wang was being dishonest about the nature of his poker games.
“You’re lying …. Poker for you, in that basement, (was) a business,” he said.
Wang replied by insisting the events were little more than a game among friends, noting that many players came to his game specifically because it was legitimate.
“We’re not an underground game, which is why I have guys who make, let’s say, $1 million a year,” he told the court. “They feel comfortable coming to my home to play poker with us.”
Wang said he’s moved to a residence guarded by security since the attempted robbery, in a location he did not disclose, so that he can ensure his family’s safety.
As for poker matches in the future, Wang was clear.
“I’m done with that life,” he said. “After this experience, never again.”