Edmonton artist's dream in pieces after repeated break-ins to her new glass-blowing studio

·2 min read
Leah Kudel dream of having her own glass-blowing studio has been halted by a slew of break-ins. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)
Leah Kudel dream of having her own glass-blowing studio has been halted by a slew of break-ins. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)

Leah Kudel's dream was to open her own glass-blowing studio. Five break-ins later, that dream is beginning to feel like a nightmare.

Suspended Studio, Kudel's glass-blowing studio and gallery space, is weeks from becoming a reality in a building outside her home in south Edmonton's Pleasantview neighbourhood.

But five times since the end of the November, someone has tried — and often succeeded — in breaking inside.

"I'm scared to come out here at nighttime, you know?" Kudel said.

It started when Kudel returned from a trip to Calgary and she discovered substantial damage to the door to the studio's furnace room.

Inside, she found weapons, clothing and electronics.

"It was just full of stuff — full of presumably stolen things — everything from double-sided axes, machetes and jackets and clothes and, like, motors and just an insane amount of things."

Submitted by Leah Kudel
Submitted by Leah Kudel

She reported it to Edmonton police and put the incident behind her.

Then on Dec. 2, she woke up to the sounds of someone trying to force their way in. The following night, she heard the sound of breaking glass.

"There was glass everywhere," she said. "My equipment was absolutely covered, and then I started looking through the studio and started noticing a bunch of things that were stolen."

She installed a new security system, new locks and motion lights.

On Dec. 13, she was awakened at seven in the morning by the sound of the alarm.

When she went outside, her neighbour told her that he'd chased down a man who'd been attempting to break in with an axe.

Submitted by Leah Kudel
Submitted by Leah Kudel

Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout said police were able to make an arrest thanks to a video recording.

A 34-year-old man has been been charged with two counts of attempted shop-breaking. One is in relation to the Dec. 13 incident, while the second is regarding an attempt on Dec. 12 that Kudel didn't know about until it was seen on the video.

"Investigators are also working to identify a different suspect in the Dec. 2 incident," Voordenhout said. "That investigation is ongoing."

While Kudel is relieved there has been an arrest, she fears it's not over.

"There's a part of me that just thinks it's not going to stop. I'm just waiting because they like, wait a couple of days and then it happens again and it happens again," Kudel said.

"I just have so many videos of people trying to break in here. So something that was my dream now feels uncomfortable — which is like the worst feeling in the world."

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