el tren latino toronto

Toronto bar hanging on by a thread after being robbed during lockdown

A Toronto bar is in dire straits after being robbed during the current lockdown having already been temporarily closed for months on end.

El Tren Latino posted photos of smashed windows to their Instagram over the Family Day long weekend. The bar and restaurant has been known for hosting Spanish rock bands frequently, and also serving items like empanadas, tacos and over-the-top micheladas.

"Last Friday night around midnight someone threw a brick through my window and broke into my bar. The guy was alone. Went straight for the iPads that is part of my TouchBistro system. Stole all my full bottles of liquor, about 12 bottles," El Tren Latino owner Johnny Sarria told blogTO.

He added that he also tried to "pry open the register, which makes me scratch my head thinking, 'Now why would there be money in the register if we haven't been open in the past three months?'"

El Tren has been temporarily closed since Nov. 21, 2020.

"I'm kinda glad it happened now and not when I'm in operation," Sarria added. "They took two of the instruments I use on the daily basis, that being the iPad and the cash register.

"I've reordered them but it's gonna be about a week before they get to me. So if that would have happened while I was open it would have been a disaster."

Sadly this is far from the first bar to have been robbed during the pandemic, and it definitely takes a special kind of thief to steal from businesses that are already struggling so much.

"The impact on my business is already severe so for someone to come in and steal from me is really shitty. Kick a man while he's down why don't cha. And not only the theft but the damages that I have to repair, and out of pocket first mind you," says Sarria.

"The insurance company first has to come see a confirm and then pay me back several weeks or months down the line. Money is already practically nonexistent so for this to happen now really sucks. I'm barely hanging on by a thread."

Despite the incredibly unfair circumstances, Sarria remains humble and says he "can manage."

"When I finally open up people in the community can come and have a meal or a beer and support us like that. That would be great," says Sarria.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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