Cape Breton Post

‘What can we do?’

Glace Bay restaurant dealing with ongoing vandalism

- NICOLE SULLIVAN CAPE BRETON POST nicole.sullivan @cbpost.com @CBPostNSul­livan

GLACE BAY — The owners of a small Canadian-Indian restaurant in Glace Bay are fed up with vandals causing damage to their place.

Dharminder Shergill and his wife, Harpreet Kaur, opened Pizza 67 in March 2023 after purchasing the building.

Located at 130 Commercial Street, the couple named it Pizza 67 in honour of their family; 67 was the combined ages of the couple and their son when they opened it.

Since its opening, there have been issues with vandalism — much of it occurring when the restaurant is open.

The walls and doors have been painted on, sometimes laced with profanity. Posters get ripped down and thrown about.

Not only have the vandals, who are believed to be youth, throw paper towels and garbage around the bathrooms, they have also tried to set fires in there.

"We have painted, many times, our dining area and the washrooms because we don't

nd want to show the customer that this place is having that kind of issue,” said Shergill. “So right away we fix it, overnight.

One time, the staff tip jar was stolen and Shergill said they called the police — one of the many times Cape Breton Regional Police were called in relation to youth behaviour at Pizza 67.

"We have no idea how we can control it," said Shergill. "We need some support from the community so that we can be able to resolve this issue. I'm pretty sure that all the neighbouri­ng restaurant­s are also having the same kind of issues going on."

MEASURES TAKEN

In attempts to combat damage done to property or other possibly illegal things, Shergill and Kaur said they have decided to lock the bathrooms for customers only.

They have also closed off a part of the back of the sitting area, where there is a blind spot to the staff and video cameras. The area was closed because of the vandalism and mischief done by some youth.

"I don't think that locking the washroom for the restaurant is a convenient way for the customer, to be honest. But we don't have any choice," said Shergill.

Shergill said Pizza 67 staff have also suffered harassment and verbal abuse from the youth.

“It’s an ongoing challenge,” he said. “At the same time, our staff never (verbally) abuse or (use) aggressive behaviour toward the kids.

“… I told them there is no way you can stop them by showing aggression, so we always advise that (they) politely tell them to leave the premises.”

POLICE RESPONSE

In an emailed statement, Cape Breton Regional Police said they responded to the call about the stolen tip jar. However, they were unable to verify any other reports that may have been made.

“The only report to police I can verify is a group of youth who stole a tip jar from the restaurant in November 2023, for which the owners requested a Protection of Property Act to prevent the youth from returning,” said police spokespers­on Desiree Magnus.

“We strongly encourage anyone who is a victim of vandalism to please report it to police, not only so that we can investigat­e but also so that we can monitor where incidents are happening and assign our resources accordingl­y.”

ONLY HERE

Shergill and Kaur aren’t new to the food and hospitalit­y industry. When they were living in Ontario, Kaur was a manager at a Subway and the couple own four restaurant­s in Prince Edward Island, where they live.

The Pizza and Donair Hub restaurant­s are busy, and the couple said they have never previously had issues with vandalism or mischief.

“Two of them are near schools,” said Kaur. “The schoolkids do come over at lunch and there is always a line, but we have never had any problem like this.”

Shergill agreed. “There will be 60, 70 students in there and we have never had any problem,” he said.

MESSAGES OF SUPPORT

With hopes that public support might help reach people who can help stop the vandalism and mischief, the couple posted about it on their Pizza 67 social media channels.

Over the days since it was posted, there have been many messages and emails from people showing their support. Shergill also said they have heard from some other owners in the area who said they also have issues with vandalism and mischief at their businesses.

“We worked very hard to have this place, but it’s unfortunat­e that this thing happened,” said Shergill. “These things are happening, and our intention is not to discrimina­te against anybody at all.”

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Owners of Pizza 67 on Commercial Street in Glace Bay have been dealing with acts of vandalism at their restaurant since they opened in 2023.
CONTRIBUTE­D Owners of Pizza 67 on Commercial Street in Glace Bay have been dealing with acts of vandalism at their restaurant since they opened in 2023.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Harpreet Kaur, left, and her husband, Dharminder Shergill, are co-owners of Pizza 67 in Glace Bay. The couple met while they were both studying at Sheridan College near Toronto, where this undated photo was taken.
CONTRIBUTE­D Harpreet Kaur, left, and her husband, Dharminder Shergill, are co-owners of Pizza 67 in Glace Bay. The couple met while they were both studying at Sheridan College near Toronto, where this undated photo was taken.
 ?? ?? This undated photo shows one of the bathrooms at Pizza 67 in Glace Bay trashed by vandals. CONTRIBUTE­D
This undated photo shows one of the bathrooms at Pizza 67 in Glace Bay trashed by vandals. CONTRIBUTE­D

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