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Late-night intruder steals ice-cream sandwiches from Elmwood shop


There was nothing sweet about the unwelcome intruder at Sub Zero Ice Cream in Elmwood – the latest in what residents and businesses say is a growing number of break-ins in the area.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Wednesday, someone threw a brick through the window of the ice cream shop on Jamieson Avenue. Security footage shows the intruder helping themselves to some ice-cream sandwiches before heading to the register – only to find it empty.

“He tried to find some cash but found nothing, so he left,” Owner Linh Le told CTV News.

She said this is the fourth time she’s had a break-in since buying Sub Zero Ice Cream in 2017. She’s since stopped leaving cash in the shop overnight and keeps the register unlocked and empty.

Winnipeg police tell CTV News they are investigating the break-in.

Le said, while she’s thankful no one was hurt, she feels it's only a matter of time before her shop is broken into again.

“I feel it is the normal thing in Winnipeg right now for business owners,” she said.

It’s a growing problem the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation has noticed as well.

“It creates a stigma in the community and a feeling of unsafety,” said Leilani Villarba, the executive director of the corporation. “Elmwood is such a beautiful community and the people here are so wonderful. To have that stigma around a community is detrimental to the people who live here.”

She said the group is doing what it can on a community level to deal with the symptoms of crime. Every Thursday night, she said volunteers gather for a Unity Walk to patrol the neighbourhood and pick up used needles.

“They make the community feel a little bit more safer,” she said.

However, she would like to see that program expanded to create a volunteer patrol every night in the area.

“I think that would be a really good way to kind of lower the rate of break and enter or property damage,” she said.

Villarba estimated it would cost around $50,000 to $60,000 annually to run the patrol group. It’s something Coun. Jason Schreyer said he would support.

“I will do anything to continue that. I will walk with you. I will provide more resources. If it takes $50,000, you know what, I can handle some of that out of my own ward budget,” he said.

Schreyer also pointed to a discontinued community policing program that was run in the area years ago – which saw two community police offices in the neighbourhood.

He said these would only help deal with the symptoms of crime, not the root causes of crime – which he said will require action from all levels of government.

“It's something that we as a city and as a society can't ignore,” he said.

At Sub Zero, while the ice cream bandit didn’t make off with any cash, the break-in is still costing Le. Replacing the window will cost up to $4,000 – money she said she’s having to pay out of pocket as an insurance claim would only lead to higher premiums.

But she said there is still a sweet ending to all of this. Since posting about the break-in, Le said the community has rallied around her.

“We got a lot of love and support from our community,” she said. “This keeps us continuing to serve the yummy ice cream for the community.”

This ice cream thieve wasn’t the only visitor to the Sub Zero Ice Cream shop that night.

Le said a kind stranger stopped by the shop about an hour after the break-in and boarded up the window. She’s not sure if it was the police or just a good Samaritan, but she’s sending out a big thank you for the help. Top Stories

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