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Foodfare owner’s car vandalized in grocery store’s parking lot

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A rash of violent incidents targeting a Winnipeg grocery store came to a head Friday with a brazen daytime arson attack caught on camera.

Two cars, including the co-owner’s SUV, were set on fire on Friday in the parking lot of the Portage Avenue Foodfare.

The family-owned chain believes two alleged shoplifters are to blame, and is calling for more action against thieves.

Security footage from the incident shows the moment two women approached a couple of cars belonging to co-owner Tarik Zeid and his cousin.

They smash a window, douse the car with a flammable liquid, and set it on fire.

"I was in shock. I was in shock just because it's my car, right?" Tarik Zeid told CTV News Winnipeg in an interview.

He believes the suspects are the same women involved in a shoplifting incident inside the store the day before.

"When I was going home, opened my car doors and there was two pieces of cardboard drenched in gas," he said.

"I wasn't expecting the next day, the same people, because they look like they're wearing the same clothes, come and try for round two."

The Portage Avenue grocery store has been plagued over the last month with a rise in retail theft, violence, and intimidation, stemming from an April 28 altercation in which an employee punched an alleged shoplifter.

"There's no right or wrong way of dealing with the situation. At the end of the day, we don't want anybody hurt. We just want our stuff back," said Zeid’s brother, Munther Zeid.

Just over two weeks after the first incident, three staff members were assaulted when five masked attackers stormed the store.

A 17-year-old boy was charged, but no additional arrests have been made.

Munther Zeid says the ambush pushed the chain to increase its security measures.

"When we approached the shoplifter and we have the bat in our hand, which is rare because we approach them in groups of 2 or 3 now, we're hoping that they just give us the stuff and leave."

Currently, the province offers small businesses up to $300 for equipment purchases made since Sept. 1 as part of a security rebate program announced in April.

"That won't even pay for the wiring of a camera,” Munther Zeid said.

SeoRhin Yoo, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business also says the program falls short.

“We appreciate the province for offering the fund for residents and small businesses, but I think we really want to emphasize that small businesses need a little bit more."

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