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NEWS: Bloor restaurants cope with B&Es (Winter 2019)

March 14th, 2019 · No Comments

Police apprehend multiple “drug-dependent” individuals

By Hannah Alberga

January has brought a spike in commercial crime around Bloor and Brunswick streets, with four restaurants experiencing break-ins on one day.

Between 3:30 am and 6:30 am on Jan. 7, the  St. Louis Bar and Grill, Crafty Coyote Ale House, Vietnam Lovely Noodle, and Gong Cha teahouse were victims to break and enters.

“Someone with 100 convictions should be serving a fairly lengthy custodial sentence” —Sergeant Darren Worth, Toronto Police 14 Division.

Detective Sergeant Brian Kelly, the crime manager at Toronto Police 14 Division, says that in the past month, police have taken three offenders into custody for crimes of this nature.

He described these individuals as “unsophisticated” and “drug-dependent,” mainly looking for objects they could make money from to buy drugs. Kelly says he can’t be specific about when police arrested these individuals, or which acts they were responsible for.

Detective Sergeant Darren Worth, also from 14 Division, says that after these offenders are caught they often quickly end up back on the streets repeating similar acts.

“We need appropriate sentencing in order to get these people into programs that remedy whatever their ailment is,” he says. “It’s a revolving door.”

Worth adds that many of such alleged criminals are sent to drug treatment mental health courts, or receive reduced sentences. Often the police cannot monitor these offenders as they don’t have fixed addresses.

On Monday, Jan. 7, James Coates arrived at his restaurant, St. Louis Bar and Grill located at 376 Bloor St. W., to find the front door shattered, a tablet stolen, and a few expensive bottles of alcohol missing.

Next door at Vietnam Lovely Noodle, $1,500 in cash was stolen from the till, their front door was broken, and their tablet was also taken.

Nick Ndreka, the owner of Crafty Coyote, says he was replying to emails in the basement of his restaurant at around 3:30 that morning when he heard the side door open.

Security footage shows that a man attempting to break into the restaurant saw Ndreka and then immediately ran away. Ndreka chased after him and threw two empty kegs in his direction.

“I’m just doing my job and protecting my staff and my workers. We don’t want this sort of thing to spill into the neighbourhood,” Ndreka said.

On Nov. 10, Ndreka was in his other restaurant, the Victory Café, when he heard a noise from the back alley door around 3:30 am. A man with a bag of tools and a gun was in the basement, Ndreka said. He reports that he came to the first floor of the bar to find that a man had forced the side door and was in the premises with “a bag of tools and a gun”. The Gleaner was able to view security footage of the incident which involved an altercation between the owner and the intruder. The intruder was forced to remove his pants by Ndreka and was kicked out of the restaurant. 

Then, on Jan. 10 a man threw a brick through the side window of the Victory Café.

Ndreka estimates that he has lost around $6,500 in sales and damages because of these incidents. The owner of St. Louis Bar and Grill estimates a loss of approximately $3,000. The manager of Vietnam Lovely Noodle estimates a loss of more than $2,300.

“If you’re a first, third, fourth, or tenth offender, I don’t think you should be on the street. I mean, they should be locked up somewhere,” Ndreka said.

The two 14 Division police officers agreed that this type of offender should be dealt with more severely, but say that it is their job to track suspects down and it’s the court’s job to determine how to discipline them.

“Someone with 100 convictions should be serving a fairly lengthy custodial sentence in my opinion, and they’re not,” Worth said.

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