The owner of Scarpetta Italian Eatery in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood said a recent break-in and theft is another setback during an already challenging time with the threat of COVID-19.
Security camera images and video show a man in a dark grey hooded sweatshirt, black mask and light coloured sneakers throw a rock through one of the glass doors to the restaurant at around 5 a.m. on Tuesday.
It then captured nearly 15 minutes' worth of footage of the man ransacking the restaurant.
The internal computer system used by servers to order menu item was broken open, high value alcohol was stolen, the cash box was smashed — the estimated damage is $1,000 according to the owner.
"It’s extremely unfortunate especially after the year we have been having, being closed for three months," said Rocco Bartolotti, owner of Scarpetta.
"It’s really difficult and challenging."
Calgary Police confirms 48-year-old Kyle Sterma was arrested the day after the crime and has been charged with one count of break-and-enter.
Bartolotti hopes the incident doesn't change peoples' perceptions about the neighbourhood.
"Inglewood is such an amazing area to visit and frequent. You are seeing a lot more people coming into the area and sleeping outside, so you know that with (COVID-19) it’s really taking a toll on a lot of the community. It’s really unfortunate and sad to see right now."
Area councillor for Ward 9 Gian-Carlo Carra says he is aware of increased crimes and social disorder across a number of neighbourhoods due to economic difficulties as well as mental health and addictions issues in the city.
"(Council has) put a lot of preventative-style funding into looking at mental health and addiction," adding that poverty reduction and housing fits into this strategy.
"COVID-19 I think has been in eye-opener for all of us about how we’re all in this together, and so we are looking at a couple Hail Mary passes with regard to funding preventative services a lot more."
Carra says Inglewood is generally more "crime-proof" because of density and attracts crowds during the day and evening.
He recommends that residents and businesses get to know their neighbours to look out for one another, to lock up their assets and to report crime right away.
The Inglewood Business Improvement Area says its sorry to learn of the break-in.
"Especially during a time when businesses are vulnerable,” said the executive director Rebecca O’Brien. "Given that Inglewood is inner-city, and despite a pandemic that causes socio-economic stressors, on top of a city struggling with economic challenges, Inglewood's main street continues to be a vibrant and safe area for people and business."
The BIA also recommends security cameras where possible.
Bartolotti also says he is going to expand his existing security camera set up.