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East-end Toronto shops on high alert after string of break-ins | CBC News



Small businesses in Toronto’s east end are on high alert after a string of break-ins and police say they’re “concerned” about the spike.

Matt Schachtebeck, the co-owner of Coffee and Clothing on Gerrard Street E., says his shop was one of those hit on April 27, when someone smashed the glass front door and stole some clothes. 

“Since COVID, it’s happened way more often,” he said, referring to neighbourhood break-ins. “I think people are just desperate.

Police confirmed to CBC Toronto that the rise in break and enters across the city is substantial.

Insp. Paul Rinkoff with the Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit says there has been “a year-to-date 16.6 per cent increase in break and enters across the city.” There was also a 25 per cent increase in 2023 from 2022, he said. 

“The Toronto Police Service is concerned,” he said.

The same day Schachtebeck’s store was broken into, a bar just down the street called Farside had its window smashed in, according to a post on the business’s Instagram page. 

Co-owner of Coffee and Clothing Matt Schachtebeck says a burglar smashed the door of his Gerrard Street E. business on April 27. (Matt Schachtebeck)

Police say the following weekend, someone sat at Eastside social on Queen Street E., hid in the restaurant’s basement until staff went home and then broke into the safe. Investigators are still looking for a suspect. 

“It’s just … sad,” Schachtebeck said. “You hear of a new one once a week or so.”

Support for businesses 

Rinkoff says police are offering businesses help with making their stores more secure.  

Coun. Paula Fletcher for Toronto-Danforth says she’ll ask police for more night-time patrol around the neighbourhood if the situation gets worse.

“Those businesses on Gerrard that had their windows broken, they’re just tiny, little businesses, living on a shoestring,” she told CBC Toronto. 

A view of a bar from the side walk. A man walks by.
In an Instagram post, the owners of Farside on Gerrard Street E. said someone had smashed through the front door on April 27. (CBC)

“It’s crippling when those things happen, and I will hope that the police are able to go and give them some assistance.”

Schachtebeck says he’s not angry about the burglary, but the financial cost does sting. 

“It’s not money that we readily have available to spend on extra costs… it directly impacts families and people.”

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