Concordia student alleges man stole his laptop inside Montreal restaurant

Published March 7, 2023 7:28 pm ET

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A Concordia University student is sharing a cautionary tale about keeping a close eye on your belongings after she told a man stole her laptop while seated next to her in a crowded restaurant.

The incident was caught in surveillance video footage inside the Poulet Rouge eatery on Ste-Catherine Street.

While Maya Michelle was having a late lunch, her Macbook was in a bag on the seat next to her. Security video shows someone slowly unzipping the bag and making off with the laptop.

“I’ve always been pretty cautious, so for this to happen to me it’s super upsetting,” she told CTV News. “I didn’t feel anything.”

The alleged thief casually walks out, and only 15 minutes later does she discover what happened.

She later located the laptop using Apple’s “Find My” geolocation app.

“I could see it being transported through the metro and I knew at that point it was going to be very difficult to get it back,” she said.

She said the restaurant staff were extremely helpful and provided her with the security camera footage. She took it to police, who she said were supportive but admitted it’s probably gone forever.

“There are so many more important things out there other than just a computer, so I understand it’s not their top priority,” she said.

According to the latest numbers by Montreal police, the number of reported thefts was up by more than 20 per cent in 2022. Prior to that, crimes of petty larceny were on the decline since 2016.

What changed? Some believe it’s cost of living.

Grocery stores across Canada say in the past year they’ve seen a significant increase in shoplifting, and Walmart Canada says it has seen an historic uptick in thefts.

Many smaller retailers say they’ve noticed the same thing.

“We’ve seen that shoplifting has increased across all categories, so that includes food, apparel, and footwear merchandise,” said Michelle Wasylyshen, a spokesperson for the Retail Council of Canada.

“We do know that escalating inflation, a growing re-sale market for stolen goods, and increase of organized crime are some of the contributors.”

Michelle said following the incident she needs to be more aware of her surroundings. She hopes what happened to her will serve as a lesson for others.


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