Ottawa couple sounds alarm over distraction thefts
Couple believes tire was slashed to give thieves chance to steal bank deposit bags
An Ottawa couple robbed in broad daylight on Monday are coming forward with their story to prevent other people from becoming victims of distraction theft.
Kamal Antoun, 46, and his wife Akemi Kasai were driving by the courthouse on Elgin Street on Monday morning when their rear passenger-side tire went flat.
They were on their way from the bank to their small business with nearly $600 in bank deposit bags. The money was going to be used to fill their cash registers.
Antoun said he believes the tire was slashed while the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV was stopped at a red light on Elgin Street at Laurier Avenue.
He turned onto Laurier and pulled over to fix the flat tire with Kasai, Antoun said.
While they were busy replacing the flat tire, three people approached. One of them — a skinny man with glasses — asked if they needed help while the other two walked around the other side of the vehicle.
Antoun said he didn't think anything of it until he noticed a three-inch slash in the tire once it had been removed. By then the strangers were gone and the tire had been changed, he said.
'I was angry at myself'
"It has to be a big kitchen knife, I would say, to slash this kind of tire," said Antoun, who once worked in an automotive garage. "It has to be a strong knife too, so it doesn't break going through.
"I was upset, I was angry at myself because I always tell Akemi, lock your door even if you're filling up your car with gas. Just be cautious, be careful anywhere you go," Antoun said.
Then the couple noticed that one rear door was slightly ajar. They checked the back seat and the bags of money were gone.
"I didn't think this could happen to us, especially in front of City Hall," Kasai said. "It's shocking. Why did it happen to us?"
Police are looking at surveillance video from nearby security cameras.
Antoun and Kasai aren't confident the thieves will be found, but they want people to know what happened to them.