Montreal

MAP: Arsonists strike Montreal

An interactive map shows dozens of suspicious fires at cafés, restaurants and other businesses in Montreal this year. Police believe many are a result of organized crime.

It's becoming an almost nightly occurrence — a firebombing in Montreal.

Dozens of cafés, restaurants and businesses have been attacked this year, and police believe organized crime may be involved in many of the cases.

Often it's a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window that erupts into flames, causing damage but no injuries so far.

The attacks have mostly taken place in neighbourhoods across the northern half of the Island of Montreal, including Rivières-des-Prairies, Saint-Leonard, Saint-Michel-Villeray and Ahuntsic.

Recently, suspicious fires in the west-end districts of Pierrefonds, Westmount and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce have also caught the attention of police.

Police are investigating possible connections between many of the blazes.

Arson squad Commander Mario Lamothe said the frequency would suggest that organized criminals are trying to muscle in on new territory.

"Yes, it's somebody who is asking low-level criminals to set fires, to send a message. But which message and why? That's where we're having problems," Lamothe said.

However, he doesn't think all of the incidents are connected — or are related to the Mafia or street gangs.

He said investigators have been hitting roadblocks as some business owners refuse to open up about the attacks.

Anyone with a tip about the attacks can call police at (514) 393-1133 and leave an anonymous message.

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