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Overnight vandal hits West Vancouver restaurant second time in a month

Someone appears to be targeting the business, police say
Julia Karimi shows the extensive slashing done to the patio coverings of her restaurant in early September. The restaurant was vandalized again this week, less than a month later. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

Just days after the patio coverings at JJ’s Kitchen Restaurant were replaced – which had been shredded in an act of overnight vandalism less than a month prior – the expensive material was slashed a second time.

On the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 3, owner Julia Karimi arrived at her restaurant near Thunderbird Marina in West Vancouver to find the plastic and vinyl coverings around her patio area in tatters, as if cut by a sharp object. The vandalism mirrors the damage in the first incident, which she discovered on Sept. 7.

Shaken by the second attack on her business, Karimi says she and her staff feel threatened, and fears the incidents will further impact how customers feel about coming to her restaurant.

Meanwhile, the repeated nature of the crimes suggests they’re not just random acts, according to police.

“Based on the fact that it happened immediately [after the replacement work], it appears that someone is targeting that business,” said Sgt. Mark McLean, spokesperson for West Vancouver Police Department. “As far as who that person is, what their motivation for it is, we don’t know.”

A forensic examination has been ordered, McLean said, adding that police encourage anyone who has seen suspicious activity in the area, particularly overnight, to contact WVPD.

Regarding the restaurant owner’s concerns over the security of her and her staff, McLean said the safety of the community is the police department's No. 1 priority.

“Absolutely [they] have every right to feel victimized by these offences, [but] no offensive violence or threats or intimidation or anything has taken place, nothing to suggest that there’s any personal danger to her staff,” he said.

“But we certainly take that seriously, and the officer investigating will be in communication with her about what sort of safety plan she and her staff require to feel safe there, and then we’ll go through that between the investigator and her,” McLean said.

Karimi said the experience has left her frustrated and disappointed. Last week, a company was preparing to install upgraded security at her business, but the work had not yet been completed, she said.

“I just have no hope that I am protected,” Karimi said.

While there is no direct evidence to suggest who a potential suspect could be, Karimi feels it could be someone in her neighbourhood, “because they knew that we replaced [the patio coverings].”

Karimi also speculates that the vandalism could be hateful in nature, as people have complained about the Persian music played at her restaurant in the past. But police haven’t yet found anything to suggest a potential motive, McLean said.

Regardless of who attacked her business, Karimi said she’s done nothing that would ever justify such an act.

“It’s not right,” she said. “Why should I feel like I’m being attacked this way? Maybe because of my [skin] colour?

“After 30 years of being in Canada, why do I feel like somebody’s trying to do this? … The first time I thought, ‘OK, somebody was mad maybe because we sent out flyers.’ But this time, we sent out nothing,” she said.

“And this very much could happen again.”