A man has been charged with setting an arson attack at Olivier Primeau’s pizzeria after being caught in the act by police. The investigation is currently transferred to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), since there could be a link with organized crime. The series of events targeting the entrepreneur reportedly began last month when another attempted fire occurred at a restaurant linked to one of his associates, La Presse has learned.
At the time these lines were written, the SQ was unable to identify a potential sponsor of the attack.
The alleged arsonist was arrested early this morning. This is Jean-Richard Émile, considered by the police to be a gang member. The 43-year-old man appeared at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse in connection with the arson.
The suspect has a long criminal history. He had pleaded guilty in 2021 to charges of breaking and entering and assault with a weapon. He had already been found guilty of an arson committed in 2013 in a car rental business in Saint-Léonard. He also pleaded guilty in 2013 to possession of prohibited weapons and robbery.
According to our sources, Olivier Primeau’s property would be subject to special surveillance by local police forces.
This is the second time this week that the Slice Gang pizzeria, located in Sainte-Thérèse, has been targeted, a few days after the businessman’s Laval condo was targeted by gunfire.
In both cases, these are fire attempts that did not cause any injuries. The windows and facade of the establishment were slightly damaged.
The Régie intermunicipale de police Thérèse de Blainville (RIPTB) had arrested the suspect on Friday morning. Around 12:30 a.m., while plainclothes police were near a business in Sainte-Thérèse, they heard a noise and later saw the start of a fire in front of a business. They headed outside and observed individuals in front of this same business.
They pursued the suspects and succeeded in making the arrest.
The files of the two attacks on the pizzeria were later transferred to the SQ, it is added. The Major Crimes Investigation Division will continue the investigation. “Certain elements collected during the investigation lead us to believe that there could be links with organized crime,” reports the SQ.
Another attempted fire at the Industria restaurant in Laval on April 8 could be linked to the recent attacks, La Presse learned from a police source. According to our research, this resto-bar belongs to a company whose directors are partners of Olivier Primeau in the company Slice Gang.
The Laval condo rented by the owner of the Beach Club had been targeted by gunfire last week. One or more suspects allegedly targeted around midnight the accommodation located on the 3rd floor of the Aquablu building complex, rue Étienne-Lavoie, in Laval.
They allegedly got out of a car before firing several shots and fleeing, our sources said.
The attempted arson of the pizzeria is therefore the fourth criminal act targeting buildings linked to Mr. Primeau.
In an Instagram post shared on Thursday morning, the businessman explained “not to rule out” the possibility of being the target of attacks. He does not know the reason for these attacks, he said.
He announces in the same message that he wants to take a step back and reduce his public appearances to ensure his safety and that of his family.