'My whole life, my whole savings': Thieves make off with Plateau jewelry store's 2 safes
Owner says COVID-19 closures made his store an easy target
A Montreal jewelry store owner is sounding the alarm after thieves made off with his two safes.
The burglary happened overnight this week, and the owner believes the COVID-19 pandemic makes closed-down stores an easy target.
When Edward Nunes checked the security camera feed of his jewelry store Monday night, everything seemed normal.
But when he checked again the next morning, he knew something was wrong.
The camera in the back of the store had been covered.
When Nunes arrived at Bijouterie Rosas on St-Laurent Boulevard, he found a large hole in one of his walls and his two safes were gone.
"There was my diamonds, there was precious stones. There was my whole life, my whole savings. My everything," he said.
Alarm system never went off
How the robbers got away with it is a mystery.
The wall that was broken through connects to a restaurant next door, and Nunes says his alarm system never went off.
And then there's the question of how the safes were swiped.
"Each weighs about a ton and a half. I don't understand how they were able to move that in three hours or so. You have to have major equipment? I don't know," Nunes said.
With businesses shut down because of COVID-19, Nunes said he believes thieves may become more active and burglarize more properties.
As police investigate, Nunes is warning other business owners with valuables in their stores to take extra precautions.
Police ask for public's help
Montreal police spokesperson Insp. André Durocher said that since many businesses are closed, everybody should use caution — ensuring their properties and valuables are secure.
He recommends asking friends or family that live nearby to keep an eye on the property. He said people should leave the lights on so people can see inside.
Durocher said residents can also help by keeping an eye out for each other and nearby properties.
"It is not the full responsibility of the police department. At times like we are going through right now, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us," he said.
Regardless, he said it is premature to assume the recent order to shut businesses for three weeks is going to lead to more criminal activity or less security.
There have been five business break-ins on the "whole Island of Montreal" since non-essential businesses were ordered closed on Monday, he said.
Neighbourhood stations are co-ordinating patrols as needed, he said, and the force's emphasis has been on putting officers out on the streets, working to keep the community safe.
With reporting by Matt D'Amours