January 19, 2023
A series of robberies along Wellington street in Pointe Sainte-Charles has business owners worried.
In the last two weeks, no less than five businesses along Wellington street in the Pointe Sainte-Charles district have been broken into, vandalized and robbed – and the latest victim is Boom J’s restaurant.
For the past decade, Boom J’s, a beloved hotspot hidden in plain sight in Pointe Saint-Charles, has been bringing quality and authentic Caribbean food to the city of Montreal. It’s owner, chef Jermaine Wallace is a well-known and loved member of the community, but on Wednesday morning, he woke up to discover that his glass door had been shattered overnight and a trail of blood proves that somebody had entered through the smashed door.
“I was in shock,” said Wallace. “It was like a punch in the stomach because this is my place. I’ve been here for over 10 years, everyone loves me. Everybody loves Boom J’s.”
Among the other business to see similar break-in’s, are Café Mollo, Espace Houblon, Miel et Blé, Marché Providence Distribution and Maui Poke – a restaurant that has only just opened its doors recently. Although robberies such as these are common in Pointe Sainte-Charles, they have been happening more frequently in recent times.
Video camera footage from Miel et Blé, a coffee shop and bakery, suggests that a single suspect is to blame for the break-in. His modus operandi appears to be a simple smash and grab type ordeal. In each robbery, a brick has been used to smash a window or door and the perpetrator immediately heads for the cash-register, then looks for anything of value that can be grabbed up. Luckily for Miel et Blé, their cash register has little in it, and the robber left with little more than a few pastries.
A series of robberies hit many of these same establishments last year as well, and also in 2021. With the hardships of the times – the increase in rents, food, gas and just about everything else, people are in dire straits.
In recent years, the district of Pointe Sainte-Charles has seen a rise in gentrification. Landlords are snatching up apartment buildings, evicting tenants and doing quick and cheap renovations in an attempt to double and sometimes triple the rents. For an area like The Point, that sort of thing is devastating. A nearby resident that wished to remain nameless, as they are having troubles with their current landlord, said that the buildings opposite the Share The Warmth foodbank are victims of gentrification, where the costs of rents have tripled over the last three years.
“I’m not sure where they think we should all go” she said. “The people in my building, we are… or where all people that grew up here in The Point. Our parents and our grandparents all grew up here, and now these rich kids think they can just stroll right in and take away our homes and our heritage right from beneath our feet. Well good luck,” she said.
“You know what?” she pondered. “It sucks for the businesses that are getting robbed, but that wouldn’t happen if these greedy landlords weren’t coming in here, trying to destroy our community. Nobody can afford to live here anymore.”
Police say an investigation is on going, and no arrests have been made yet.