Tyndall Park Liquor Mart reopens with heightened security, new entry
Minors, including small children, are no longer allowed into secured stores
Exactly one week after a violent robbery shut it down, the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart in Winnipeg has reopened with a new high-security entrance.
Customers are now required to provide valid photo identification, which will be scanned at the security station, before being allowed through the locked inner doors.
Minors, including small children, are no longer allowed in, even if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries announced the changes on Wednesday, noting the new anti-theft measures will be added to all other Liquor Mart locations over the coming weeks and months.
"This location was selected because the entry was large enough to support the installation of an entry ID check while remaining wheelchair accessible without major renovations," a news release from the Crown corporation stated.
The work was already underway when the robbery happened on Nov. 20.
"While this initiative is being implemented [at other stores], we will continue to work with the Winnipeg Police Service and expand their presence at Winnipeg Liquor Marts," the news release stated.
The Tyndall Market liquor store's doors were covered in messages of support days after the robbery.
A 15-year-old boy is charged in connection with the unprovoked Nov. 20 attacks on three staff members as well as other people in the attached shopping mall at the corner of Burrows Avenue and Keewatin Street in the northwest area of the city.
Three different women were punched in the head or face during the rampage, including one Liquor Mart employee who was knocked unconscious and rushed to hospital in critical condition.
That woman, Randi Chase, is now out of hospital and posted a video to Facebook Sunday night, recounting the incident and calling for more protection for staff.
The teen accused of attacking Chase, 26, was arrested after bystanders held him until officers arrived.
Police are still looking for two other suspects that were with him.
'Never be the same'
Chase addressed the attack at a news conference Wednesday. She said she wanted to raise awareness on behalf of her Liquor Mart co-workers in terms of what they're facing in the workplace.
"I quickly realized I didn't have the tools to handle and de-escalate [the] situation," she said. "These are ongoing incidents and we need to appropriately address them now."
Watch Chase recount what happened:
Chase described herself as outgoing. She is a power-lifter and student, and smiled from ear to ear several times during the event.
But she isn't sleeping well and is getting headaches since her injury. The other day at the grocery store, Chase says she jumped back in fear when another customer appeared from behind her and reached for an apple.
"I'm afraid I'll never be the same because of what happened … and I know I'm not alone," an emotional Chase said.
She has been a Liquor Mart employee for eight months and is currently on leave while she recovers.
'Heartbreaking and difficult'
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has received multiple interview requests from media in the past few days to respond to Chase's video but said Wednesday it would be "inappropriate for us to provide comments related to a specific employee."
Rather, the corporation shared a staff memo sent out Tuesday by executive vice-president Robert Holmberg about the concerns raised by Chase.
In it, Holmberg talks about Chase's "heartbreaking and difficult to watch" video and acknowledges that Liquor Mart employees have experienced stressful and upsetting incidents due to the epidemic of robberies.
Employees also "live with the anxiety that the constant threat of theft brings," he wrote, encouraging staff to make use of the counselling services available through the human resources department.
He goes on to talk about the "dramatic change" being made to the stores with the new security entrances and the hope it will halt the brazen thefts.
"We know that many of you continue to find it difficult to stand by and watch thefts occur. We ask that you continue to use your training and non-violent crisis intervention techniques to protect everyone in the store," the memo states.
"While no employee should ever intervene in a theft or unnecessarily put themselves in harm's way by provoking or engaging with a thief, employees do have the right to protect themselves should the situation warrant it."
Shirley Watson, a customer who says she shops at the Tyndall Market store once a month, welcomes the new measures.
"If it saves people inside, it's great," she said as she left the store on Wednesday.
"I think those people need to be protected and it's just something we have to … deal with."
Another customer, Bob Persaud, is happy for the safety of the staff but says the security has its drawbacks.
"The process of getting liquor is too slow. I've got things to do, places to see," he said.
"Everything looks good but the process — pass through here, go here and here — you [could] go to Minneapolis and back in the same time."
More information on the new security entrance and photos ID, as well as other FAQs, can be found here on the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries website.
With files from Angela Johnston