Forteau hotel owner, and other residents, shaken by recent crimes

A peaceful community on the Labrador Straits has been rocked by crime over the past month, and one business owner says she still can't shake the trauma of being confronted by masked intruders. 

An armed robbery at the Florian Hotel in December was one of four property crimes that have happened in Forteau, though not all of them have been violent.

"We come from a small place where nobody locks the door and the RCMP are now telling us to lock our doors," hotel owner Angela Gilley said.

"It's so surreal to us because it's something we've never had to do here."

Gilley says on Dec. 11, knife-wielding masked intruders stole cash and alcohol from the Florian while she was working alone.

"All that was gone through my mind was 'Don't say anything because you have a little boy and he's going to want his mom when he gets off the bus today,'" Gilley told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.

"They demanded money from the till and I had nowhere to go because they were blocking my only way out."

Submitted by Angela Gilley/Trip Advisor

Gilley said one of the two was more assertive than the other. 

"He noticed the phone in my hand, he told me not to call anyone or else he would cut my throat," Gilley said. 

Gilley said she refuses to live in fear, but the frightening event has stayed with her.

"That moment is etched in my mind and I can't get it to go away," she said.

'Traumatic' several weeks

But it isn't just her who has been shaken. Gilley said others in the community are shaken, too. 

Since the armed robbery at the Florian Hotel, there have been three break-and-enters in the community. 

The first one happened on January 8, 2020,  where a personal utility trailer was pried into and items were taken. 

On Jan. 23, the Canada Post location in Forteau was broken into and numerous items were stolen.

CBC

The most recent crime was just up the road at the West St. Modeste Town Centre Building on Feb. 2,  where someone broke in through the back doors and caused damage inside. 

RCMP can't confirm a definite link between all of the incidents, and say they are still under investigation.

In the meantime, police are telling residents of the town of 400 to lock up their belongings, their vehicles and houses, and to keep an eye out in the community.

"This has been traumatic over the last seven weeks to say the least," Gilley said.

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador