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Good Samaritan protects unlocked Jane-Finch shop

The front entrance of Tires Tires Ltd., located in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue west area. CITYNEWS/Melanie Ng

The Jane-Finch community has been the target of negative attention, but a recent incident has proved you can’t judge a neighbourhood by its generalizations.

On Saturday afternoon, a family who runs the automotive store Tires Tires Ltd. on Eddystone Ave., forgot to lock the doors after being closed for the day — a perfect target for would-be thieves to profit from. But, nothing was stolen and one of the customers even tried to locate the owners to alert them.

The business, which is owned by Diego Catala and his parents, is a fixture in the Jane-Finch community for 26 years and houses some high-priced merchandise.

Catala said as the family began to close up for the day a customer came in at the last-minute. The family forgot to lock the door and turn on the store’s alarm system, and left the sign on the door as “open.”

He told CityNews five people were seen on a 16-camera security system walking into the store unattended over a three-hour span. Two hours into the unlocked door situation, the fifth customer entered the store and tried to rectify the situation.

Catala said the footage shows the man going behind the counter looking for something — believed to be the owners’ contact information.

He was in the store for 20-30 minutes, Catala said, opened the staff door to see if anyone was there, walked outside, and at one point, looked at the camera and gestured that the front door was open. He even wrote something on his phone and showed it to the camera.

On his way out, the man turned the sign on the door to closed and got into his truck. But he didn’t stop there.

Catala told CityNews he was at his parents home on Saturday evening when he got a call from police around 7 p.m. — police said someone reported that the shop’s front door was left open.

He believes that same customer in the footage — who he said lives nearby and has been coming to the store for years — went to police for help. Officers were able to track down the store owners.

“I was like for sure, as soon as I saw him, I know he went to the cops 100 per cent, it has to be him,” Catala said, who last saw him in the store on Wednesday.

Catala said he wasn’t that surprised nothing was stolen.

“It’s not a bad community. They got a bad rap, but there are a lot of good people here too,” he said.

“I’ve worked here for 12 years … we’ve never ever had any incidents here … our customers are like our friends in a way. They look out for us. We look out for them.”

One customer named Yehuda said this incident shows that the Jane-Finch community is “awesome.”

“It shows what humanity is capable of, being exposed to an open shot and nobody taking anything … I think that’s the way it should be,” Yehuda said, adding that “people still have some goodness.”

Catala said once they track down that Good Samaritan, he is going to get a free set of tires — no questions asked.

“Thankful to him for notifying the police. We could have been open for 40 hours or something,” Catala said.