Rash of thrift store robberies continues

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – One or more serial robbers seem to be at work after more Downriver Salvation Army stores were broken into last week. A total of nine robberies have been reported since December at four of the thrift store outlets, with Downriver locations in Taylor and Southgate targeted on multiple occasions including late Feb. 1.

The nonprofit store’s Southgate outlet, 14724 Eureka, had been robbed two times in recent weeks before Monday’s break-in. The Taylor location at 9830 Telegraph had been broken into last month.

Salvation Army stores in Lincoln Park, 2627 Dix, and an outlet in Ann Arbor also have been victimized in recent weeks by what police believe is the work of the same perpetrators.

Taylor Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said entry was typically through a broken window, and that office safes were looted, equipment destroyed and merchandise taken.

The robberies have reportedly totaled more than $30,000 worth of damage and stolen money and inventory.

Prior to the break-ins Monday in Taylor and Southgate, robberies were first reported in late December before last month’s rash of thefts. The Taylor location was broken into the night of Jan. 20, less than a week after reports of burglaries in Lincoln Park and Southgate Jan. 16.

Investigators noted similarities in the robberies and believed that the individuals responsible and may have familiarity with the store operations.

Salvation Army officials and police said preventative measures will include installation of security cameras at the targeted locations, guards will monitor the stores and police will patrol the areas more frequently.

Investigators have located some evidence, including a hammer found at the Lincoln Park store that was likely used to break the window.

The nonprofit Salvation Army has 35 metropolitan Detroit thrift stores to benefit its adult rehabilitation center.

Anyone with information is asked contact Taylor police at 734-374-1531, Southgate police at 734-258-3060, Lincoln Park police at 313-381-1800 or Ann Arbor police at 734-794-6939.

(James Mitchell can be reached at james.a.mitchell37@gmail.com.)