Winnipeg business owner fed up with thefts, hopes crime roundtable will bring new suggestions

A security guard stands near the front door of Cantor's Meats in Winnipeg. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

A Winnipeg business owner is anxious to find out what was discussed at a retail crime roundtable on Friday as he continues to deal with a rise in thefts.

After hiring part-time security late last year, Ed Cantor, owner of Cantor’s Meats, has since decided to have a security guard in his store on a full-time basis as shoplifting continues to be a major problem for him.

“It’s basically a six-day a week security,” Cantor said. “You have to protect your customers, you have to protect your staff and you have to protect your products.”

READ MORE: ‘These are serious times’: Shoplifting up 77% in Winnipeg

Government, retail and law enforcement representatives were among the groups that met for a private meeting at the Metropolitan Theatre Friday morning to discuss the wave of retail crime in Manitoba.

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Aside from retailers possibly sharing information about thieves with each other, ideas that were brought up to curb shoplifting were not made public.

“It would be too premature to know which ones we’re going to focus in on, but we’re really encouraged by the discussions,” Retail Council of Canada spokesperson John Graham said after the event.

READ MORE: ‘We have baseball bats’: Winnipeg grocer not taking chances with shoplifters

A report on the meeting is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“This certainly isn’t the end of the discussion. I think it’s more the beginning of the discussion,” Justice Minister Cliff Cullen told reporters.

While Cantor wasn’t invited to the roundtable, he said he encouraged by the meeting. He hopes one of the recommendations in the final report has to do with tougher penalties for thieves.

READ MORE: Second Winnipeg Liquor Mart location gets new secure entrance

“Instead of just patting them on the hands and letting them go,” Cantor said.

The way things are now, Cantor said he can’t absorb the cost of full-time security at his meat shop. Next, he said, prices will have to go up.

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“It’s coming if this doesn’t get any better.”

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