WINNIPEG — Police in Winnipeg say they’re investigating an assault and possible robbery at a cafe that was then vandalized and spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Const. Rob Carver says it happened Thursday night after closing time at the BerMax Caffe and Bistro, the same business where police are already investigating other incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti stretching back to December.
In Thursday’s incident, police say they think the cafe was the target of a robbery, and a woman who worked there was assaulted.
Police say the business was severely vandalized and spray-painted with hate-related graffiti.
The woman was treated in hospital Thursday night and released.
Carver says police aren’t saying if they believe the incident is related to past ones at the business, but that investigators would likely look for links.
“We’ve got three incidents of graffiti prior to this, and they would have fallen into the category of what most people would call a hate crime. They were anti-Semitic,” Carver said.
“And now we’ve got another instance, on top of everything else, there was as well graffiti that was would fall into the category of hate crime and was anti-Semitic in nature.”
Police say they are investigating it as a hate-related crime in conjunction with a commercial robbery.
Carver wouldn’t say how many suspects may have been involved or if a weapon was used.
He said damage to the business was significant.
“My understanding was the entire restaurant was vandalized, including the main area, preparation area, office, all of it,” he said.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman condemned the incident in a social media post, saying people in the city stand with members of its Jewish community to combat racism and anti-Semitism.
“To members of Winnipeg’s Jewish community let me say this… Antisemitism will continue to fester as long as good people stay silent. We will not stay silent,” Bowman wrote on Twitter.
The Canadian Press