Building owner may be target of explosives left at Amsterdam coffeeshops: report

Police tape seals crime scene for forensic investigation
Police tape seals crime scene for forensic investigationPhoto: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

Two Amsterdam coffeeshops targeted with explosives over the past months are located in buildings owned by the same man - 56-year-old entrepreneur Jan Erkelens. He owns more than 10 buildings in Amsterdam where coffeeshops are located, Het Parool reports.

One of Erkelens' buildings houses coffeeshop New Times on Spuistraat. Two hand grenades were left at the coffeeshop over the weekend. New Times owner Mohamed Kamani agreed to voluntarily close his business for a week while the police investigate. 

Another building owned by the entrepreneur houses coffeeshop Los Angeles on Derde Oosterparkstraat. Los Angeles closed its doors in September after a large explosion 

Like the coffeeshop owners, Erkelens told Het Parool that he has no idea why explosives were left at his buildings. He also doesn't know whether the actions are targeted at him. 

He did say that the explosion at Los Angeles was not caused by a hand grenade, but by fireworks. "Mortars that you can buy for two euros each at Waterlooplein", Erkelens said to the newspaper. "The municipality talked about 'a lot of damage' and a letter from the mayor mentioned a Molotov cocktail, but that was nonsense, the camera images show."

Neither of the two coffeeshops had problems in the past, according to Erkelens. "I also have restaurant Alberto's at Leidseplein and hear in that neighborhood how club staff is being threatened. 'I'll hang an egg', they shout", he said to the newspaper. "With the same ease with which they shout 'dick' or 'bastard', a guy like that can place a grenade for a hundred euros."