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Break-ins at 3 Brussels queer bars
Three LGBTQIA+ bars were broken into in Elsene and Brussels. According to the police and the owners, there is no link between the three incidents. "The timing raises questions, but in Brussels there are also just a lot of burglaries," police say.
"On Sunday morning, we were called by the police. A neighbour had contacted them because he heard a lot of noise," says Axelle Ninove, co-owner of The Crazy Circle in Elsene. "CCTV footage shows two people forcing open the shutter and then smashing the door."
On CCTV footage, the faces of the burglars are clearly recognisable. The images, meanwhile, were handed over to the police.
However, the burglars left with little booty. "They broke open the till, but it was as good as empty," Axelle says. "They also grabbed a laptop, but the thieves left it there."
At the same time two other LGBTQIA+ bars were also broken into last weekend, police in the Brussels Capital – Ixelles police zone confirm. They were "The Agenda" on the Plattesteen and Stammbar on the Fontainas Square.
The timing of the crimes suggests a link, but that is not certain for now. "We do not suspect a link between the different burglaries just because they are popular with a queer crowd," says officer Robin De Becker.
Frederique Dasorg of Stammbar is also convinced that the damage to his bar has nothing to do with homophobia. "It involved a man under the influence of drink or drugs, who broke our display case at around 4am. He then left again quietly without shouting or being aggressive, very bizarre."
The man was also captured on camera but is not known to the bar staff.
"I have already contacted the other bars and it is definitely not the same person," Dasorg says.
Axelle from "The Crazy Circle" also says she does not feel she was targeted because the Crazy Circle caters to a queer crowd. "Initially we just thought of a ‘normal’ burglary, but it is true that the timing does raise some questions. At the same time, there are also just a lot of burglaries in Brussels, so obviously it could be a coincidence."
The Agenda bar could not be reached for comment. According to Officer De Becker, the bar did not file a complaint with the police and did not let the police know anything.