Winnipeg Police: “Antisemitic” attack believed to be staged by owners

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BerMax Caffé and Bistro. Photo: Facebook BerMax Caffé video – screenshot

On April 24, 2019 Winnipeg Police Service issued the following statement:

Commercial Robbery/Hate Crime – Arrests: C19-82871

Winnipeg Police Service Major Crimes investigators have arrested 3 adult suspects in an incident that occurred on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at a restaurant located in the 1800 block of Corydon Ave. The following individuals were arrested on April 24, 2019;

Alexander Berent, 56

Oxana Berent, 48

Maxim Berent, 29

These individuals are all owners of the café. They are each charged with one count of Public Mischief and released. Public Mischief (CCC 140 (1)) occurs when an individual, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation based on a false statement or causing another person to be suspected of having committed an offence to divert suspicion from themselves.

Investigators believe that the initial report of a robbery was staged. Further, the anti-semitic graffiti and vandalism were also falsely reported as being done by outside suspects.

Hate-related crime is one of the most heinous acts we encounter as a society. It tears at the fabric of who we are as a country. False allegations of hate crime trivialize the trauma that genuine victims endure. The Winnipeg Police Service fully investigates all reports of hate-related crime. We encourage the public to report any suspected incident.

CBC reported:

“The Jewish family that owns a Winnipeg restaurant deny police allegations that they staged an anti-Semitic attack at the establishment last week… “What is happening yesterday and today, it’s completely broke our family, our business, everything. It just broke us,” she told Ismaila Alfa, host of CBC Manitoba’s afternoon radio show, Up to Speed… “We don’t joke about swastikas on our walls,” she said. “My grandmother’s family, they died in the Holocaust. Just her and her little brother survived, the whole family. We don’t joke about that”… Maxim Berent said it would go against everything his family believes in to make up something like this. “We didn’t do it. We had no reason to do it,” he said, speaking alongside his mother. “This is not good for our Jewish community, this is not good for us.”