The owners of Mr & Mrs Bao, a small chain of Asian fusion restaurants in London, are speaking out after two of its London restaurants suffered multiple burglaries, which they say may be motivated by hate.
Co-owner Julia Hou claims that within a week, their location in London and a new site in the city center were repeatedly targeted.
“Of the four burglaries, they were evenly split, two and two, and I think they were both related,” Hou said.
“We knew that in the Toronto area, Asian restaurants were repeatedly targeted and robbed, and it was always the same people breaking into the same restaurant. So we’re starting to see that with us.
She said that feeling of being targeted is reinforced by a note left during one of the break-ins. Although the writing is difficult to distinguish, it lists London and Toronto, two of the cities where the company is based, and the words “bye bye”.
“It’s very hard to read, but it looks like someone is intentionally trying to message us,” she said.
Mr. and Mrs. Bao is a chain of Asian fusion comfort food restaurants that started in London with a food truck in 2017. The business has since grown to five stores with locations in London and Vaughan, soon to be six with the opening of a new location in downtown London called Mingle by Mr and Mrs Bao.
On June 25, Hou says their 276 Wharncliffe Rd. N location was broken into, and then three days later their 551 Richmond Street location, which is still under renovation, was also hit.
“The first time they came in and took all of our keys for the back door (at the Richmond Street location), the front door, the electrical panel, as well as the smoke detectors and the key fob from the garage. We reported it and had all of our keys and locks replaced,” Hou said.
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The latest incidents occurred on July 4, with the Richmond Street location targeted at midnight and their Wharncliffe Road location two hours later.
“This time they took over the smoke detectors (at Richmond Street), but they also flooded the toilets. They turned on one of our faucets in the basement near the hot water tank, then it flooded the toilet, then they also went to drain one of our storage rooms, and they left , and they took uniforms with them,” she said.
Hou said their Wharncliffe Road location had its front windows smashed and the cash drawer stolen, which had been empty since the last burglary.
She estimates the total cost of lost revenue and repairs at $6,600.
London police confirmed they were investigating the first two burglaries, but could not find any trace of the two on July 4.
All of the break-ins at the Wharncliffe Road location were captured on security video, while Hou documented the damage to their Richmond Street location.
Security video shows a suspect breaking down the front door of the Wharncliffe Road location on July 4 and repeatedly throwing the cash drawer to the ground trying to open it before driving off with it.
While Hou notes that their business has weathered the pandemic well, the break-ins are starting to have a real impact.
“Right now it’s a very difficult time because there’s inflation that’s affecting all industries and all sectors, but primarily the restaurant industry, and then that, coupled with the fact that we’ve continuously violations, it actually has a significant impact on our business,” she said. said.
“We all feel like we’re part of one community, so more than anything we want harmony and unity within the community, but at the same time, I feel like it depends If this is happening to ourselves, our neighbors, and our fellow business owners, then I think it’s also up to me to step in and deliver this message that whatever is happening is not is not pleasant, and we want it to stop.
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