The owner of an Indian restaurant in Sydney is filled with sadness and longing for home after his business was robbed and vandalized over the weekend.
Ajay Balyan, a native of India, said the break-in happened at Swaagat Restaurant sometime after he closed late Saturday evening and when an employee alerted him to the incident early Sunday morning.
Arriving at the scene, he found the business he started ‘messed up,’ and a broken and empty cash register that had $200 inside it the night before.
Dissaray was then discovered in the kitchen.
“My flour was all over the floor, my spices were all over the floor,” he said. “They were playing in my kitchen.”
The culprits also turned his bathroom heater to the dangerously high setting of maximum and even targeted his beer fridge.
“They took all the beer from my fridge,” he said. “I had over 200 beers. My fridge was empty.”
Balyan said with the extent of the beer taken, he assumes more than one person must have been involved.
Another $1,200 was taken from another location in the business, as well as a laptop and high-quality copper pots.
By Monday, Balyan had cleaned up the mess but some of the after-effects from the break-in were still evident, including damage to a back door, which had been pried open, and a smashed bathroom mirror.
There was security surveillance at the restaurant, but the video camera was broken.
Balyan had a technician was on-site Monday fixing the system and he won’t be leaving money on site anymore.
He has been checking with homes and businesses in the vicinity in hopes that someone has outside video footage that could have picked up the culprits responsible.
Balyan said it hurts that someone did this to him.
“I’m broken-hearted,” he added.
Balyan came to Cape Breton in 2017 to attend Cape Breton University. He spent more than a year renovating 453 Prince St. for his restaurant, and invested much into it before opening two years ago.
“It was two years of working hard every day to serve the community,” he said.
The restaurant was doing well until the COVID-19 pandemic made an impact in March. He remained open with takeout and delivery but the business suffered.
His other investments in the community, include the purchase of a building at 75 Dorchester Street in Sydney in partnership with his brother and other investors. They are planning a residential/commercial development. In February someone broke in and lit a fire inside.
“First the fire and now this at my restaurant,” he said. “This makes me nervous to do things here.”
Posted by Swaagat- The Real Taste Of India on Sunday, July 19, 2020
Since coming to Cape Breton, Balyan said the local people have supported his restaurant and the other things he does here, such as real estate investments. He’s hoping for continued community support that will help him discover who is responsible for the damage to his restaurant.
Bob Murphy lives nearby and has become good friends with Balyan. While walking his dogs Monday, Murphy said news that Balyan’s restaurant had been targeted was sad.
“It’s unnecessary, “ he said. “It’s sick people who are doing things like that and here especially for people trying to start a new life here.”
Staff Sgt. Gil Boone, of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, confirmed patrol officers were at the scene of the break-in at the Swaagat Restaurant Sunday morning and the incident remains under investigation.
If anyone saw anything or has any information on the crime, they are asked to contact police at 902-563-5151 or Crime Stoppers, 902-562-8477.
Ajay Balyan, owner of Swaagat, The Real Taste of India Restaurant in Sydney, talks about the impact from a break, enter and theft he suffered to the business he worked more than a year to build and has worked hard to operate the past two years.
Source: Thanks https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/business/regional-business/broken-hearted-cape-breton-businessman-misses-his-home-after-restaurant-robbed-475492/