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Third Burglary of Grosse Pointe Coin, Stamp Store Follows Fire

City of Grosse Pointe public safety detectives continue to investigate the nature of the fire and now the third break-in at the collectibles store on Mack Avenue.

detectives have yet another crime involving to investigate after the burned out store was broken into about a week after . 

According to a police report recently released, a man hired to clean out the store following the fire discovered it had been burglarized after noticing daylight was shining through from the ceiling early March 13.

He had been working at the store the night before until about 6 p.m. and when he returned in the morning, he noticed there were some items in disarray on the floor and two glass cabinets were cracked.

He alerted co-owner Michael Wrobleski, who called police.

Detective Christopher J. Lee said investigators suspect it is the same people who before the fire and those possibly involved in the fire. At this point, there is nothing to confirm that but it would seem the business is being targeted, he said.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but investigators have strong suspicions it was set intentionally and are . The to anyone with information that results in an arrest or conviction.

Lee said the burglar entered the store through a hole cut into the roof by firefighters during the blaze to help vent the building. The hole had been covered with wood and then temporarily sealed but the seal was ripped up from the roof and both materials were put back down by the burglar in a slightly different position, allowing the light to leak through a space, Lee said.

Near the hole, investigators found a 1982 mint coin set and the top part of a wooden fence post that had been used to pry open the area near the hole and create new damage to the building, according to the report.

Lee said it was difficult for the owner to identify exactly what had been stolen during the crime because some of the items had already been removed since the fire. Officials are still working to determine what else may have been stolen, Lee said.

Wrobleski said extra measures are being taken to ensure there will not be any further problems at the store. Most of the items that were not destroyed in the fire had been removed from the store before the most recent burglary and the remaining items have since been removed, he said.

This is the third burglary to the store since early January. Wrobleski said the store has been in that location since 1957 and while there have been issues here and there, the store has never had any major problems as its experienced this year.

Part of what he does not understand is that the burglars are not getting anything of major value and in fact the clean up and restoration from each of the crimes is what has been the biggest loss to him and his business partner.

"They got rolls of quarters, what's the point?" Wrobleski said, noting how the burglar in this most recent crime clearly waited until he discontinued the use of armed guards outside the store following the fire to ensure what was left was safe.

"We tend to have a very good relationship with our customers," he said. "That's what has us wondering (about who may be responsible)."

He and his business partner are searching for a temporary storefront to rent for the next three months as they rebuild the location at 17658 Mack Ave, he said.

He is extremely disappointed in the loss of a reference library that was destroyed in the fire. It was housed at the rear of the store, which is where the fire is believed to have begun.

Despite his frustration with the repeated crimes, Wrobleski said he wants to thank the community for their outreach and support. Since the fire, he has had a variety of customers stop by to check on him to make sure he is ok. It's made him realize the relationships he's developed through the store. 

In addition to waiting on the accelerant test results, police have also sent the video surveillance recordings to Michigan State Police for forensic enhancement. If officials are able to enhance the images on the videos, Lee said the pictures will likely be distributed to media to aid in indentifying those who broke into the store leading up the fire.

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