EDMONTON -- Tokyo Express has a dozen restaurants in Edmonton, and even though they’ve been around for two decades, they’d only ever had one break-in.

But earlier this month, that changed. And it wasn’t just the crime, but the way it was carried out that had them wondering. 

"It’s pretty wide open. It’s very visible. Whoever was responsible, they were pretty brazen," says Sacha Cooper, who does marketing for Tokyo Express.

The crime took place on the weekend at approximately 1 a.m. They smashed the glass front door that fronts onto busy 23 Avenue just east of 111 Street. A high risk location, Cooper believes, and it had her wondering about crime, the pandemic and tough economic times.

“What happened to us at our location might just be a symptom of that, of desperation” she said.

CTV News has now obtained, exclusively, statistics from the Edmonton Police Service regarding break-ins for the first seven months of 2020, and they show some surprising numbers.

There has been a 51 per cent increase in shop break-ins so far this year, compared to the average of the two prior years.

What’s more: In a year where many are now working from home, house break-ins are down 23 per cent compared to the same seven months of 2018 and 2019 combined.

But the biggest shift has been the office buildings and the number of thieves targeting them.

It has jumped by 75 per cent over the same averaged period of the two prior years.

Police are not specifically attributing the rise and fall of certain types of break and enter crimes to the pandemic and a challenging economy. 

Cooper is.

"This speaks to people’s desperation in these very uncertain and unprecedented times."