Ottawa restaurant targeted by thieves four times in four weeks

A Centretown restaurant that has been targeted by thieves four times in the past few weeks is challenging big businesses to support "the little guys" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The owner of Grounded Kitchen, Coffee & Bar on Gloucester Street says the business has been broken into four times since just before Christmas. The first break-in happened on Dec. 22, and there have been three other break-ins since.

Grounded Kitchen says each time, the suspect smashed doors and/or windows to enter and steal alcohol.

In an interview on CTV Morning Live, owner Amir Rahim said the community has shown "what heroes they are" by supporting small businesses, and now it's time for big businesses to step up.

"My challenge out there is to big business, is to people who can spend two, three, four, five-thousand dollars on orders and pay small businesses rent for a month," Rahim said Friday morning.

"They can order stuff, not just from us but Brown Loaf Bakery, from other small businesses and take that order and get something for a shelter, get something for the at-risk community. The person who broke into here had no support."

Rahim says while he has access to support from family members and governments during the pandemic, "this person had nothing close to that. They were desperate; they broke in a few different times."

"The Centretown area is so quiet right now, it's so dead. I think if we could help the churches, the shelters, places like that by feeding some of the people, by giving them warmth and by having big businesses step up to the plate I'd like to see that."

Rahim noted the community has also supported the owner Brown Loaf Bakery on Elgin Street after the bakery was robbed twice last week.

The break-ins at Grounded Kitchen, Coffee & Bar comes as Ontario is in a modified Stage 2, closing dining rooms for indoor dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're doing OK all in all. Lots of support from a lot of great customers. We've been here for 12 years now, we have a super loyal following," Rahim said.

He admits to feeling a "little defeated" after the break and enters.

"There's just been so many things going on so this was really just this Big Mac layer of things that was happening. I think there was enough things to feel defeated and when this kind of happened it was just that, 'Wow, what's happening kind of thing.'"