Manitoba is currently experiencing a higher-than-average number of liquor store thefts. The problem has become so bad, that the union representing Liquor Mart employees is requesting that something drastic be done to reduce the Manitoba Liquor Mart thefts.
The latest theft occurred on November 20 at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart and involved violence against employees of the store and other bystanders.
Three suspects entered the store armed with knives, according to a media release from the Winnipeg Police. Two of the suspects stole merchandise, while the third suspect attacked two employees, sending one to the hospital.
According to the release, the suspects entered the attached mall and continued to attack patrons. One suspect entered the parking lot and unsuccessfully attempted to carjack a woman.
Afterward, the suspect tried to rob two women of their purses, but was held by other people in the area before police arrived. The other two suspects have not been found.
The 15-year-old suspect was placed under arrest, and according to the release, is being charged with robbery (six counts), aggravated assault, assault (three counts), uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm (six counts), possession of a weapon, and mischief under $5000.
Liquor Mart thefts in Manitoba have been on the rise, with instances shooting up 300% between 2017 and 2018. Thieves will often run into the stores and just take what they want, as employees have been told not to intervene.
Winnipeg Police Constable Rob Carver said in a press conference that there have already been hundreds of arrests this year in similar crimes.
"We have some people dedicated to doing almost nothing but looking at video from liquor stores," Carver said. "We're making arrests every single day."
The union representing Liquor Mart employees has asked for action to be taken in order for its employees to be kept safe from these types of robberies.
"We are appealing to the Province to bring all the key players in our community to the table," reads a statement from the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union President, Michelle Gawronsky.
"We need an urgent summit of law enforcement, addictions and social services, public and private retailers, unions, and the provincial government."
The Liquor Mart involved in the November 20 robbery will have a new secure entrance installed in order to curb future incidents.
"This means that the store will be locked, and customers will be required to show valid photo-ID at a security station before being allowed to enter the store," Manny Atwal, President and CEO of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries wrote in a statement.
Atwal also indicated that this is the first, but will not be the last, secure entrance to be built.
Winnipeg recently got slammed by NHL players who said it was their least favourite city to visit during the season.
However, despite these crimes, Winnipeg has a lot of beauty and history, including its famous Golden Boy atop the provincial legislature.
It is also home to a woman who organized the crafting of a giant handmade poppy blanket for Remembrance Day.
*Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.