Muslim community says police doing nothing after break-ins at 4 Montreal-area mosques
Montreal police confirm they are investigating break-ins, but say it is too early to link crimes
Three Montreal-area mosques have been broken into in the last month and a fourth was hit back in March, but members of the Muslim community say authorities are doing very little, despite video evidence linking the crimes.
"A six-year-old child could look at these videos and realize it is the exact same person, because the person is not even wearing a mask," said Tariq Khan, who volunteers at the Al-Salam Mosque downtown.
He said his mosque was broken into earlier this month and a small amount of money was taken. Khan provided evidence to the police.
Police did manage to track down a suspect and make an arrest, Khan said, but the man was then released with a promise to appear in court.
Khan said the man then broke into two more mosques in the following days.
On Saturday, a small amount of money was taken from a mosque in Brossard after a suspect smashed the door to get inside.
Then on Monday, the windows of a mosque in Pierrefonds were smashed, but it appears nothing was taken.
Mosque members from Pierrefonds to Brossard have joined forces to produce the video evidence linking the crimes, Khan said.
Last March, a mosque in the borough of St-Laurent was targeted as well. Khan said video evidence again shows the same man breaking in. Khan said the suspect was arrested and released then as well.
CBC was sent still images captured from surveillance camera footage that appear to show the same man in the same clothing at each scene, but police have not confirmed the evidence.
Both Montreal and Longueuil police would say only that they're investigating the latest break-ins. Police are not confirming there was an arrest.
Montreal police say it is too soon to determine if the incidents are related.
"It's beyond ridiculous that, despite showing irrefutable evidence, despite such co-ordination between the community, and showing everything, every single time the person was detained, and released," Khan said.
He called the situation "borderline shameful" and said police are not taking the situation seriously.
Khan said the inaction is frustrating not just for the Muslim community, but for all Canadians who feel that police appear to do nothing about petty crime even when the evidence is staring them in the face.
"If someone's car is broken into or the glass is smashed or it's a smaller theft, every single person I've talked to says, 'don't call the police, they're not going to do anything anyways,'" Khan said.
"That is the level of despair reached for the average Canadian who works very hard for their dollars and pays very heavy taxes."
Based on a report by CBC's Steve Rukavina