04/24/2019 17:57 EDT | Updated 04/24/2019 17:57 EDT

Owners Of Winnipeg's BerMax Caffé + Bistro Staged Anti-Semitic Attack: Police

Last week officers responded to a report that an employee was assaulted and that the business was vandalized.

Instagram/BerMax Caffé + Bistro
BerMax Caffé + Bistro in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

WINNIPEG — What looked like an anti-Semitic attack at a Winnipeg cafe that drew public concern and political condemnation was not a hate crime but an alleged sham staged by owners of the business, police said Wednesday.

Officers responded last Thursday to a report that a woman who worked at the BerMax Caffe and Bistro was assaulted and that the business was vandalized and spray-painted with hate-related graffiti. It was the night before Passover.

After a lengthy investigation involving 25 officers and 1,000 hours of investigative work, police said they charged the three owners of the cafe — including the woman who was reportedly assaulted — with public mischief.

"Last night, investigators formed the belief and came to the conclusion that the incident ... was staged," Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said.