Thieves break-in to 15 businesses in one week, owners ask why?

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. – The Kent County Sheriff’s department reported at least 15 business break-ins in a single week.

The break-ins took place between Sept. 13 and Sept. 21 during the overnight hours. Thieves smashed windows or pried open doors and mainly stole money.

The victimized businesses are mostly in groups. One group is in the 5600 block of Alpine Ave NW in Comstock Park; another is in the 6200 and 6500 blocks of 28th Street SE; plus businesses on Northland Drive NE; and businesses along East Beltline Ave NE. See a full list of the businesses hit by break-ins here.

Many businesses hit seem surprising targets for thieves, such as Amigo Mobility Center located on the 4200 block of Plainfield Ave NE, and both Northeast Tan and Alpine Trailer Sales in the 5600 block of Alpine Ave NW.

“It’s not a logical place to come and rob," said Bridgette Ignasiak, receptionist with Northeast Tan. "There’s not a lot of money, there’s not a lot of stuff here to get.”

At Alpine Trailer Sales, owner Larry Markel told FOX 17 that thieves only took $6. He said petty cash was lying on top of checks near computers and merchandise throughout the store that was untouched.

“I’m thankful they didn’t take anything else,” said Markel. “It’s just the feeling now that I don’t feel that secure anymore. But what else could you be doing? What kind of society do we live in now that people get by doing this kind of thing?”

Next door to Markel, Ignasiak told FOX 17 thieves stole about $300 from Northeast Tan a week earlier, on Sept. 6.

Deputies told Northeast Tan they do not believe the same thieves broke in twice, because the second time the thieves could not open the cash register. “All you have to do is push the button,” said Ignasiak. “The second time they didn’t know that or tried a different way, and they used a crow bar to pry it open.”

On Sept. 13, Ignasiak said thieves broke through an exterior door that leads to drywall in a private tanning room. She said thieves kicked through the drywall, then stole tools.

Ignasiak shook her head. “It’s a family-owned business. It’s pretty disappointing that a small business like this would get taken advantage of twice in a week. I hope that they catch whoever’s doing this.”

Deputies have not released any information on possible suspects.

If you have any information, or witness any suspicious activity, you are asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, (616) 632-6100, call Silent Observer, (616) 774-2345, or 911.

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