Downtown eatery targeted twice over weekend in separate incidents
TORONTO -- Kareema Beckles’ Dundas Street East eatery was closed on Monday, not because she didn’t want the business, but because she was dealing with the aftermath of two separate attacks.
“It’s hard, it’s hard. And it’s so disheartening. I’m still very upset. I’m still very hurt, disappointed,” the 47-year-old told CTV News Toronto.
Around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, surveillance video shows a man kicking in the front door window at “Chef Kareema”. Police are investigating the incident as an attempted break and enter.
And then around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, surveillance footage shows a different man throwing three large rocks through the Caribbean restaurant’s windows.
Police are investigating the Sunday incident as “mischief.”
“I didn’t sleep very well last night. I’ve been up since 3:30 this morning,” Beckles said.
In all, the damage totals more than $4,000 –a devastating financial blow to a restaurant that only opened its doors in December 2020 during the most recent lockdown.
“So how do I feel? I was hurt, angry.”
However, Beckles says that while she was devastated by two complete strangers, other people, many of whom she does not know, are helping buoy her spirits. A friend set up a GoFundMe page over the weekend and so far, people have donated thousands to help Beckles make repairs.
“I would never have asked, but I’m so grateful that she did, because I wouldn’t have been able to get through it all,” she said. “This or rent, to be honest. I would have had to choose.”
On Tuesday, another old friend set up what he’s calling a “ride, walk or drive” to “Chef Kareema” to help drive up business.
“A lot of people are coming from very far away, not just the GTA, and I’m so appreciative of that. And grateful. And tomorrow is going to be emotionally a hot mess for me again.”
So while the two incidents have shown Beckles’ some of the worst of humanity, they’ve also shown her some of the best.