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Saint-Laurent business owner speaks out after spate of recent break-ins: ‘I don’t feel safe’

Click to play video 'St-Laurent business owner struggles to stay afloat following a rash of break-ins' St-Laurent business owner struggles to stay afloat following a rash of break-ins
WATCH: A recent string of robberies has prompted a St-Laurent warehouse owner to take matters into his own hands. Three break-ins since the fall have resulted in cancelled contracts and high employee turnover. As Global's Olivia O'Malley explains, APtech International has invested in security and is asking both the borough and the police to do more – Feb 28, 2020

Since Arshad Ali Peer moved his business, Aptech International Ltd., to Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough in October 2019, he says it has been broken into not once but three times.

“I’m not feeling secure since I moved here in Ville Saint-Laurent,”  Ali Peer said.

A month after moving, he alleges thieves stole a fully-loaded truck of tech equipment from the loading dock. The truck was ditched down the street but the merchandise was gone.

Then in January, Ali Peer says $150,000 worth of goods were lifted from another truck.

After the first two robberies, Aptech manager Zahid Mukhtar says customers cancelled contracts when they learned about the break-ins.

“They said, ‘we cannot give you more business because you do not have a secure place,” Mukhtar said.

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Less business meant less work for employees, and three workers handed in their letters of resignation.

“I don’t feel safe, I don’t sleep overnight, I lose my business, I lose my customer, I lose my employees,” Ali Peer said.

When he contacted local police, Ali Peer said they didn’t seem to care.

He said police told him, “We don’t have enough investigators, and this is not our priority.”

The alleged lack of police response prompted Ali Peer to invest in his own security. He bought three cameras for the warehouse, three for the loading bay and one for the office.

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“We buy the equipment, we install the equipment and still we don’t feel safe,” he said.

Throughout the night, Mukhtar and three other employees sleep in shifts, monitoring the cameras.

“When I sleep I have my second guy who’s backing me up,” said Mukhtar. “When I sleep I call him: ‘OK,  I’m going to sleep now, it’s your turn to wake up.'”

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The latest break-in happened earlier this month. Both Ali Peer and Mukhtar claim police apprehended the suspects but police refused to comment.

However, in a statement to Global News, Montreal police said “there is no significant problem with incidents in Ville Saint-Laurent.”

But after three break-ins in four months, Ali Peer begs to differ.

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“It’s not only me, it’s multiple people around,” said Ali Peer.

Shafqat Bashir, who owns NBS Global Service down the street, says since his business was broken into two years ago, robberies in Saint Laurent have increased.

“Specifically this area, there is more break-ins,” he said.” Like two, four, five — now they’re going more fast.”

Ali Peer hopes to meet with Saint-Laurent officials in the coming days to discuss the issue.

While the borough confirmed they received his request, a meeting hasn’t been scheduled.

However, the borough took to social media Friday evening to say it was taking the situation very seriously.

“Our urban security patrol will be deployed in the area and we will collaborate with the @SPVM local station to take care of this situation,” officials said in a tweet.

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