Jean-Pierre Brunelle found himself at the heart of an armed robbery as part of a wave that has rocked dozens of cellphone shops for the past two months. One of the burglars pressed his gun so hard on his back that the client had to undergo physiotherapy treatment. He applied for compensation from the Compensation for Victims of Crime (IVAC) program.
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Mr Brunelle visited the Telus store on rue Masson on May 12 to find out about the features of his new phone. The door was locked due to the high level of theft in the greater Montreal area, but an employee opened it with her key. When she closed, she didn’t lock the door.
“I was standing at the back counter with my back to the door. Eventually I heard the door open. The saleswoman asked the two young people if they would come to buy a phone, but I felt her face change. When I turned around, I saw that they were each holding a gun,” says Mr. Brunelle.
The two thieves, whose faces were covered by surgical masks, asked the clerk and the customer to go to the back room of the store. They ordered the clerk to open the safe and ordered the customer to lie on the floor. They spoke in French.
One of them had his barrel on my shoulder blade and his knee on my lower back. The other put the phones in his pocket.
Jean Pierre Brunel
“At one point it hurt me and I decided to ask him, ‘Can you just stuff your gun?’ It really was a metal weapon,” stresses Mr. Brunelle.
The newly retired man has recovered from his emotions but admits he was afraid the bandit would make the wrong move and shoot him in the back during the robbery. He is not suffering from post-traumatic shock, but from back pain after the flight.
“My spine is fine, I’m not worried. But my massage therapist told me that I probably have a pinched nerve and that some exercise will clear it up. »
About ten days ago, the man filed a claim for damages with the IVAC, supported by images from the store’s cameras and the police report he filled out. He’s waiting for the decision.
According to its own statements, IVAC has not received any further claims for damages from customers or employees of mobile phone shops in the past few months.
Since mid-April The press identified more than 20 armed robberies at mobile phone shops in Vaudreuil, Joliette, Repentigny, Boisbriand and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield to name a few.
The thieves, hooded and armed, are not interested in the money in the boxes, but in the new $1550 iPhone Pro Max. They target all brands, whether it’s Bell, Videotron, Rogers…
However, once the phones are reported stolen, they cannot be activated in Canada as they are blacklisted by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
“The investigation is ongoing, but the explanation [selon laquelle] it is plausible that the phones are intended for use abroad,” says agent Mélanie Mercille, spokeswoman for the Longueuil Agglomeration Police Department (SPAL). Two thefts have recently occurred in the SPAL area.
Since the end of April, police officers from Saint-Jérôme, Montreal and Lévis managed to arrest 11 suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 23, but the thefts continued. “There were no new charges. The investigation is ongoing,” said Mariane Allaire Morin, Montreal Police Department Media Officer.