BY MATT TROUTMAN
— TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Police are investigating four break-ins at Front Street businesses, and a trail of stolen flowers may serve as a clue.
“We believe they’re all related, based on evidence at the scene,” said Capt. Brian Heffner.
The first reported burglary occurred Tuesday at 11 p.m. when someone broke a side window at Folgarelli’s Market and Wine Shop. Owner Darric Newman said nothing was stolen and he believes the store’s alarm scared off the would-be thief or thieves.
But three nearby businesses didn’t fare as well. Heffner said police believe at least one suspect moved on to Jere’s Barber Shop, then entered the adjoining Elite Dry Cleaners through an interior door and finally the Flower Station after the Folgarelli’s attempted break-in.
Jere’s Barber Shop owner Jere Brown said he was greeted by a broken windowpane on his business’ Oak Street storefront. He said the shop’s interior was “ransacked,” presumably by a thief or thieves looking for cash; the contents of his mini-fridge were even emptied onto the floor.
“It’s a terrible thing to throw away a guy’s lunch,” Brown said.
Brown said it was the barber shop’s third break-in in 30 years, but nothing was missing. Elite Dry Cleaners reported one item missing: a recording device that stores digital security camera footage.
Heffner said police found the DVR box in a wooded area near the store and a technician is working obtain a surveillance image of the suspect or suspects.
“I can’t imagine why they didn’t take any money,” Madsen said, before speculating the robbery ended when the cameras were spotted.
“They aren’t very good burglars,” said clerk Tracy Silcox.
The Flower Station on Front Street reported the loss of dozens of long-stem roses and cash from the store’s safe. Owner Tom Edgington estimates the thief or thieves took about $1,200, but he took comfort from the fact the loss would have been much worse if the burglary occurred just one day prior.
“We just got back from Jamaica and there would have been eight days of deposits,” he said.
Edgington said the suspect or suspects ripped out plywood from a boarded window and entered through the building’s lower level. He expressed confidence police will track down the culprit.
“They’ve caught them every time so far,” he said.
Heffner said police were able to follow a trail of roses south to the Boardman River near the Traverse City History Center.
Members of the public are asked to call the Traverse City Police Detective Bureau at 231-995-5152 with information.