The brother of a London jeweller shot in an apparent carjacking or robbery attempt says he wants to see better police protection for the industry following a rash of violence involving jewelry stores in the city this year.
Riham Kamil, the owner of RK Forever Jewellery on Wonderland Road, was shot after closing the store Wednesday, escaping in his Porsche after four masked men tried to get into the car that had been blocked by another vehicle, with a fifth man person inside, security footage reviewed by The Free Press shows.
The bullet struck 34-year-old Kamil about an inch from his heart, an injury so serious he may need a second round of surgery after doctors found some internal bleeding, Kamil’s brother Aram said Friday.
“I would like to see the chief of police come out and release a public statement on what police plan on doing about it,” said Aram, who owns a jewelry business in Toronto.
“Within two weeks, two jewelries have been hit (in London), so it’s clear they are being targeted,” he said.
London police haven’t said the shooting was the result of a botched robbery, but Aram and Kamil’s business partner Subhi Kutob say they believe that’s the case.
“They are not just coming to steal. They are coming to take a life if they don’t get what they want,” Aram said. “And they are not scared. They don’t think there’s any repercussion.”
If the suspects intended to rob the jewelry store, it would make it the third such store targeted by armed robbers this year.
Ronaldo’s Jewelry was robbed on March 25 when several suspects armed with guns entered the store on Wharncliffe Road North. Three men from the Toronto area are charged in the heist that left one person with minor injuries after one intruder hit an employee with a gun.
Bella Jewelry in Lambeth was targeted July 11, with police searching for four suspects in that investigation.
Simon Naifeh owns the business on Main Street and fought off the would-be thieves who entered his store. He said he was shocked to hear about the violence that went down outside RK Forever on Wednesday.
“I hope police are taking this very seriously,” he said. “I’m very scared, to be honest with you. I don’t feel comfortable; I don’t concentrate on my job anymore.”
Naifeh said he’s investing $50,000 in additional security, including adding reinforced glass across all the displays in his store. He’s also hired a person to guard the entrance and screen customers before they come in.
Police said Friday they haven’t determined whether the confrontations this week and in June are connected, or whether the suspects are members of organized crime.
“We’re continuing to investigate and are looking at all avenues, including motive and any potential links to any other criminal activity, which have not been established at this time,” police spokesperson Const. Kyrsten Howell-Harries wrote in an emailed statement.
Asked about Aram Kamil’s comments about the need for police to do better to protect jewelry stores, Howell-Harries said: “We do not have any further information or comment to provide at this time.”
Police renewed their call for anyone with information about Wednesday’s dramatics to come forward to help locate the five suspects they’re seeking, four of whom were captured on surveillance video images that police released.
Police are also looking for a blue Acura sedan, also captured on video, that was seen taking off on Wonderland after the shooting.
Anyone with information can call 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Drivers in the area at the time of the shooting are asked to check dash-cam footage for images of the Acura sedan.
WEDNESDAY’S SHOOTING: SUSPECT DESCRIPTIONS
– Black male with a thin build wearing a dark blue hooded Puma sweatshirt, dark grey or black sweatpants and white shoes
– White male wearing a black hooded Puma sweatshirt, dark coloured pants and surgical mask
– White male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and grey sweatpants
– Male wearing a blue and black windbreaker, black pants, white shoes and a white mask or face covering
– A fifth suspect, who never left the vehicle and for whom there is no description, is also wanted
With files by Free Press reporter Dale Carruthers
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