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Montreal restaurants target of arson attacks

A series of firebombings targeting nine different Montreal restaurants and cafes has police in the city mystified and is fuelling speculation of a turf war involving gangs or the mafia.
No one has been injured in the wave of overnight arson attacks, which began Oct. 28, but several restaurants have been damaged by the fires.
Most have targeted Italian and Greek establishments, leading to speculation that Italian organized crime may be involved.
Montreal has seen three firebombings in the past two days, the latest early yesterday morning when police were called to investigate an alarm at the Cafebar Ferrari in the suburb of Riviere-de-Prairies. Officers found a front window had been smashed and a Molotov cocktail thrown into the lobby. In this case the flames died out quickly and caused very little damage.
Other establishments haven’t been so lucky. The Greek establishment Cafe Nouba (foto) was torched early on Monday for the second time in eight days. The cafe’s owner, John Zoumis, told journalists that he had recently parted ways with a business partner who owes a six-figure sum to some “bad people” who want to be repaid.
City police have said that in most cases, the owners of the targeted cafes have given them so little cooperation that they’ve been forced to turn to the public for help in solving the crimes.
“These guys don’t cooperate much with the police,” said Jacques Robinette, assistant director of the Montreal police, who said the investigation was proceeding slowly as a result.
Authorities say they aren’t ruling out any possibilities yet. Some popular theories for the arson include a conflict within the Italian community, a street gang trying to muscle in on the drug trade or even the work of a copycat arsonist. Others suggest cafe owners are being punished for not cooperating with organized crime in the area.
Investigators confirmed they’ve only been able to link two of the incidents. “It’s certain that they’re not all related,” Robinette said.
“We have part of the picture, there’s a part we don’t have and another that we’re trying to understand,” he explained.
“We don’t have the whole picture for the time being.”
(source: examiner)

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