Break-ins at Syrian-owned businesses in Bedford bring back painful memories
2 Syrian-owned businesses on the Bedford Highway were broken into over the weekend
Police in the Halifax area are investigating after thieves targeted two Syrian-owned businesses on the Bedford Highway over the weekend.
Both were owned by Syrian refugees who came to Nova Scotia to escape the civil war.
Samer Aljokhadar, co-owner of Booza Emessa, recalled entering the ice cream shop Saturday to find the business turned upside down.
"Somebody come in and make a huge mess here with bills, with cups, with spoons, with everything on the floor," he said.
"They make a huge hole in two walls in the washroom and here in the store."
The break-in brought back painful memories for Aljokhadar, who said the assault on the business reminded him of the chaos he left behind in Syria.
"I was very sad in that moment," he said.
"I'm shocked because I remember right away everything, what I had in my city in Syria when the war started, when we lost our business there and our home."
Aljokhadar said they worked quickly to fix the damage in the walls.
"I have no choice. I have to continue my job. I [had] to reopen as soon as possible," he said.
Booza Emessa's Nabil Alzaabi doesn't understand why there was so much destruction.
"If you need to steal something, you don't make a mess and damage the property," he said.
Neighbour also targeted
Next door to the ice cream shop, Grill Way & Catering was targeted too.
Grill Way owner Wasel Al Masalmeh, speaking through Alzaabi, said the television was stolen and a hole was left in the wall. They believe the thieves may have been trying to get to the other store through the wall.
The thieves also stole more than 270 kilograms of beef, as well as nine whole lambs and some chicken.
Grill Way had just received an order on Thursday. "They took everything," said Alzaabi.
Al Masalmeh said he doesn't feel safe after what happened. "This business belongs to people that need to live," Alzaabi said on his behalf.
Alzaabi added he was thankful to the community for the outpouring of support since the break-ins happened.
"It's passed. We are in the future," said Alzaabi.
Both stores have since reopened.
In an email, Halifax Regional Police said they are investigating the break-ins.
They are asking anyone with information to contact police or Crime Stoppers.
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