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'I was really, really scared': Calgary kabab restaurant out thousands of dollars after break-and-enter

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A restaurant in Calgary's Hillhurst neighbourhood is out thousands of dollars after it was broken into over the weekend.

Kamilla Hosseini's father owns Royal Kabab Express and called her after discovering the safe was missing Saturday morning.

"I was really, really scared that my dad was in danger," she said.

"He works really hard and a lot of the money we lost, it takes years to build back up."

It's all the more brazen because it happened at 6 a.m. while the sun was out.

Security camera footage shows the thief entering through the back door, then coming out a short time later with a stuffed garbage bag in hand.

Hosseini says nothing else in the store was out of place, so she believes the suspect knew where the safe was.

It was stored on a shelf in the kitchen and was covered by a cloth.

"What we're thinking is maybe someone we let use the bathroom kind of noticed that it was there … He was really planned out about it and he didn't go through the cash register or anything. He just took the safe and left," she said.

Security camera footage shows the thief entering through the back door, then coming out a short time later with a stuffed garbage bag in hand.

Hosseini's father moved to Calgary from Iran and is the main employee.

"That's just what really bothered me, I guess, that people took advantage of him because he's always providing to everybody," Hosseini said.

The safe contained $9,000 in cash and multiple debit and credit cards.

"A lot of tips, just a lot of savings over the last 12 years," Hosseini said, noting her father was going to use the money to pay off bills and put toward her university education.

Hosseini says police have been tracking the credit card purchases and she's hopeful they'll get some of the money back through insurance.

Spirits of Kensington next door was also broken into early one morning in January.

Bill Saroya, the owner, says the suspects smashed the shutters on his front window with a large rock and stole a few cans of beer and vodka products but police caught them in the act.

He says the repairs cost $1,500.

"There is very expensive stuff in Calgary right now and all over the world," he said.

Saroya says this latest incident has left him on edge.

"This is getting nervousness, every time we leave the store. Fridays, Saturdays, it's open until 2 a.m.," he said.

"It's very, very frustrating that something gonna happen to the store again."

However, police statistics show commercial break-and-enters in the Hillhurst neighbourhood began trending downward during COVID-19.

From 2018 to 2020, the numbers were in the low to high 80s, then dropped to 43 in 2021 and rose to 73 in 2022.

Police statistics show commercial break-and-enters in the Hillhurst neighbourhood began trending downward during COVID-19.

There have been 15 commercial break-and-enters between January and April of this year.

Still, Hosseini says she and her father will be taking extra safety precautions now.

"It's not the fault of the people robbing. I just genuinely think they need mental help. But honestly, it's really, really hard on all of us," she said.

Police urge businesses to ensure all doors are locked and the alarm is set when the last employee leaves.

They also recommend businesses use clear film glass reinforcement products, bars or shutters for windows and doors, install good quality security cameras, take photos of all valuables and use air tags or GPS trackers for valuables and safes.

Kamilla Hosseini says she and her father will be taking extra safety precautions now.

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