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RAMPANT CRIME | Starbucks abruptly closes store with warning posted on door – strangling incident was last straw as violence ‘escalates’

The coffee chain announced the location will be temporarily closing on May 5 to “protect the customer experience.”

Customers were informed of the closure in Winnipeg, Canada with a note taped to the front of the store. 

“We would like to thank you for being part of our store community; you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks,” the note read. 

“We are very thankful to have played a role in your daily routine and that you have shared these moments of your life with us.”

The temporary closure comes after a man assaulted another man while waiting in line at the liquor store located in the same shopping center as the Starbucks.

Following the assault, the liquor store staff called the police.

When the police arrived another altercation ensued, forcing the officer to tase one of the men, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

The alleged attacker has been charged with assault by choking, suffocating, or strangling and has an outstanding warrant, according to officials.

Starbucks did not explicitly say it was closing its Osborne Village location due to the assault incident, but employees say otherwise.

“Starbucks routinely evaluates our store portfolio to determine how and where we can best meet the needs of our partners, customers, and the communities we serve,” a Starbucks spokesperson said to Global News.

“This includes reviewing the partner and customer experience to ensure partners are supported in serving customers in a warm and welcoming environment.”

The location did not announce when it will reopen.

Meanwhile, an employee at the Osborne Village Starbucks location told Zohreh Gervais, executive director of Osborne Village BIZ, that the closure was primarily due to safety concerns.

Gervais told Global News that although she was taken aback, she wasn’t surprised that the store was closing due to safety concerns.

“They’re not equipped and they shouldn’t have to deal with these incredibly violent issues that just seem to be escalating in the Village lately,” Gervais told CBC.

CRIME WAVE

The River-Osborne area where the shopping center is located saw a 44.6% increase in overall crime from 2022 to 2023, according to Winnipeg Police Service data.

In 2024, the Winnipeg Police reported that around 27% of calls so far in the River-Osborne area were related to disturbances or danger.

And 26% of calls were for well-being checks.

This past April, a man was attacked at a Burger King down the road leaving him seriously injured.

The attack happened in broad daylight at 10 am by a person the victim knew, CBC reported.

Gervais cites that drug addiction, mental health issues, and lack of housing in the area have led to an increase in crime. 

“These security issues, these safety issues, are too big for a business to tackle,” she said.

Gervaise says Osborne Village has increased police patrol and introduced safety walks from the Sabe Peace Walkers, a group dedicated to bringing trauma-informed support and safety.

Despite Osborne Village’s efforts, business owners are taking safety matters into their own hands.

Dustin Marks, co-owner of Saikel Indoor Cycle Studio located in Osborne Village, said that his business has increased the safety protocols since the crime began to rise in 2020.

“We have locked door policies, that kind of stuff, when there’s no support around,” Marks told Global News. 

“(But) we’re not very often open past dark, which is nice. A lot of our schedule is daytime.”

Marks said that the crime in the area is unfortunate, but is the price a business pays when operating in a city.

Doha Madani

Doha Madani is a senior breaking news reporter for NKY News.

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