Thieves cut huge hole in Ottawa restaurant wall to get at jewelry store next door
Moe Hussain says he is still disbelief that his Ottawa barbecue restaurant was broken into—and out of—during a heist to steal a jewelry store safe.
Hussain owns and operates Moe’s BBQ on Bank Street in the Towngate Shopping Plaza. On Sunday, the restaurant was broken into, robbed, and a giant hole was cut in the wall that is shared with Le’s Jewellery next door.
He had no idea what happened until he arrived around noon on Sunday to prep and open the restaurant.
"When I came in, I saw my kitchen dismantled and moved around and I was really confused, was it a prank? And who would pull this prank?" he said.
Hussain saw the extent of the damage when he went to the front of the restaurant.
"As soon as I came to the dining area, I turned around and saw a giant hole in the wall," he said. "And then I thought (next door) is a jewelry store, that is what they went after, all the jewelry, so I called the cops."
Hussain says he also had to call the fire department because the thieves cut some pipes to get through the walls. They were leaking and Hussain was worried about flooding.
In a statement to CTV News, Ottawa police said, "Initial observations are that the break and enter occurred at a restaurant to gain access to an adjoining commercial unit, a jewelry store. This investigation is in its early stages. There is a significant amount of property damage to the jewelry store."
Police provided no other information.
Moe’s BBQ Smokehouse restaurant was used to gain access to a jewellery store on Bank Street as part of a heist to steal a safe. Thieves cut a hole in the wall that separates the two businesses. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
One side of Hussain’s restaurant is completely torn apart. Wood panels, nails and wall installations flung about, and electrical wires cut through. The thieves also ripped out the security system.
"They took the hard drive and the DVR that records all the video footage," said Hussain.
Moe’s BBQ Smokehouse restaurant was used to gain access to a jewellery store on Bank Street as part of a heist to steal a safe. The restaurant was severely damaged in the process. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
Hussain says he still does not know how much all the damage will cost. He is still looking for construction workers and consultations.
"I am worried about who I am going to find to fix the restaurant to the way it was before, if it is ever going to be like it was before," he said. "With insurance, the premium will go up, so I have to decide if I am going to go through insurance or my savings."
He is also worried about the impact on his staff.
"My main concern is my employees, how long are we going to be closed, as they going to miss their pay."
Moe's BBQ Smokehouse is next door to Le's Jewellery. Thieves broke into Moe's and cut a hole in the wall to access Le's safe. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
The owners of Le’s Jewellery told CTV News they are shocked and heartbroken, but declined to go on camera.
Hussain echoed the heartbreak.
"It is very heartbreaking, and feels violating and you almost don’t want to believe that it is happening. It is your dreams, and everything," he said.
Hussain hoping to reopen by the end of the week for takeout.
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