The family of a Calgary chef is appealing to the public for help in the search for the suspects responsible for his death, just weeks before he was set to open a cafe.
Following an autopsy, police identified the victim as 56-year-old Christophe Herblin, who was attacked during an attempted break-in of a cannabis dispensary, Calgary police said.
Herblin had previously worked at the Glencoe Club as an executive chef for 12 years and was about to open Croque Saveurs, a deli and cafe located in the 3800 block of Bow Trail southwest.
On March 14 at 3 a.m., Herblin responded to a break-and-enter alarm at his business.
Police later arrived at the scene and searched the business before clearing the location.
According to police, Herblin stayed in the parking lot until 6 a.m. when he was injured in an altercation with the suspects who returned in a second attempt to rob the dispensary by breaking into the cafe in order to gain access.
He then walked to a nearby Shell gas station to get help. EMS was called but Herblin later succumbed to his injuries at the scene, police said.
Investigators had previously asked for the public’s assistance in locating the victim’s Dodge Caliber, which was found by RCMP during a traffic stop in Saskatchewan.
Police took one man into custody and he was later released.
Calgary police looking for dashcam footage
Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta from the Calgary Police’s Homicide Unit gave an update to reporters on Tuesday morning.
He said investigators are asking anyone who was driving near the scene March 14 between 6 and 6:30 a.m. to review dashcam footage they may have and provide it to police.
Schiavetta said that homicide investigators have reviewed CCTV footage and confirmed that three suspects were at the scene, but said there may be more suspects involved.
Police have appealed for anyone who had information to come forward to police.
“In any event where there are multiple people involved, everyone has different roles, responsibilities, and levels of culpability.”
“We ask anyone who has information to contact police, including those involved,” Schiavetta said.
Schiavetta said approximately 20 cannabis stores around Calgary have been targeted for break-ins over the past year. The store in this investigation has previously been targeted twice.
Police believe that multiple offenders were “very motivated” to access Herblin’s business in order to break into the cannabis store.
Calgary police units looking into previous investigations
He said the Break and Enter Unit and Homicide Unit are now looking through previous investigations to search for any consistencies or potential suspects that could help solve this case.
Schiavetta said it’s common for business owners to be at the scene following a break-in.
“This is a daily occurrence that’s being played out multiple times in our community. This is obviously a rare occurrence and this is an extremely tragic and senseless murder in our community.”
When asked how business owners could react to events like this more safely, Schiavetta said that they can reach out to community resource officers in their districts.
“They have training in relation to environmental design and protection. I would encourage owners to do that, he said.
Schiavetta told reporters that in this specific case, Herblin did everything correctly to ensure that his business was secured.
“We have an innocent person whose life was taken because we have offenders who were very motivated to access the cannabis shop.”
As for whether there was a pattern in cannabis shop break-ins around Calgary, Schiavetta said that police are looking city-wide, with the possibility of expanding the search to the rest of Alberta in the future.
Police currently don’t know if the suspects are still in Calgary or have already fled.
‘He was much loved and will be missed always.’
According to the cafe’s website, Herblin grew up in southwest France, where he attended cooking school. He had also worked in Europe and the United States before settling in Canada.
In a statement released by members of
Herblin’s family on Tuesday, they said that he was a
“kind, generous, and gentle man.”
“He loved his family, cooking, animals, motorcycles, good friends and wonderful food and wine,” the statement read.
“He worked extremely hard to realize his dreams of opening his own cafe. That dream was cut short by this senseless tragedy.
“He was much loved and will be missed always. Our hearts are broken.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Calgary police at 403-266-1234.