Buttercup break-ins are ‘not just an isolated incident’, says business owner

A spate of break-ins by a thief dubbed the Buttercake Bandit is part of a wider pattern downtown, says a business owner who wants to see action.

“We’ve had more than these two break-ins,” said Vern Myslichuk, owner of La Vern’s Market. “This is now number six … there are people dealing with the issues, so it’s not just an isolated incident.”

LISTEN: Vern Myslichuk joins Windsor Morning

A Windsor morning7:38The Butter Cookie Thief

A shop in downtown Windsor sells butterscotch cakes so good one man can’t wait to open. He allegedly broke in twice to smack the cakes. We are talking to the owner of La Verns Market.

The latest burglaries at La Vern’s, on the corner of Pelissier Street and University Avenue, happened in the last three weeks. Both times the thief took only butter cakes, which caused a real sensation on the Internet.

Myslichuk said he tried to turn a negative incident into a positive one by offering free butter cookies after the theft.

“Everyone was a bit upset about the whole break-in and we thought, let’s share the butter cakes. If people [are] willing to go to jail for them, let’s give them away for free,” he said.

The second incident, he said, was both ironic and disturbing.

Windsor police say the same 47-year-old Leamington man was arrested in both incidents.

More broken windows

Broken window.
The owner of Lefty on O says his window has been hit multiple times in the past month. (Michael Evans/CBC)

Jim Arbour, owner of Lefty’s on the O, said his business has been hit multiple times.

One night about a month ago, Arbor said, customers were sitting by the window when suddenly there was “a big bang and shards of glass were flying everywhere.”

“So we went outside and found one of these queens out there.”

He said about four hours later it happened again.

Two weeks after that incident, he said his window was hit again, two days in a row.

“They seem to be targeting small businesses,” he said, adding that each glass replacement costs about $800 to $1,000.

Broken window with tape.
A window at Tunnel Discount Convenience is taped up after someone broke it. (Michael Evans/CBC)

Ljubica Cajan from Tunnel Discount Convenience said that glass was broken there on New Year’s Eve while she was in the store.

She said it’s frustrating because she can fix the window, but the culprit might come back and break it again.

She also wondered why small businesses in the area seem to have become targets.

More work could curb crime, owner says

Myslichuk, the owner of another nearby business that he said was also recently vandalized, said neighborhood patrols or increased security could help solve the problems downtown business owners face.

He would also like to see the city of Windsor take steps to encourage more businesses to set up shop downtown, such as tax cuts.

“I personally believe, having been in the business a long time, that if you encourage businesses to come downtown, crime goes away,” he said.

Down the street from La Vern’s at the Phog Lounge, a window was broken during the fall.

Owner Tom Lucier said at the time that more mental health and addiction support was needed in the area.

“Downtown needs special care and needs medical professionals. Nobody thinks that. Everybody knows it’s a problem,” Lucier said.

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