July 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Gilbert appeals to employees for tips on suspects in vandalizing Detroit building

The crackdown was swift, even in the social media age that helped identify three alleged graffiti vandals last week after businessman Dan Gilbert sent out a strongly worded email to his employees asking for their help.

Within three hours, Gilbert sent out another email to employees thanking them in helping identifying three teenage girls from the Grosse Pointes who, on June 22, allegedly spray painted their names and expletives on a building that shares an alley with one of Gilbert’s properties at 1001 Woodward.

Security from Gilbert’s Rock Ventures found their images after digging through surveillance video. Then, on June 26, Gilbert sent an email to employees asking them to help identify the teens, whom he referred to as “degenerates” and “clowns,” according to a Rock Ventures spokeswoman.

“Unfortunately, once in a great while, degenerates who don’t ‘get it’ crawl out of their deep dark holes and try to ruin it for the rest of us who take pride in and deeply care about our city,” Gilbert wrote.

After identifications were made, Gilbert gushed.

“Wow, our team members are truly the best, most high level folks around. We received several strong leads in a matter of minutes!” he wrote.

The matter was turned over to the Detroit Police Department.

The three teens, ages 17 and 18, are from the Grosse Pointes, Sgt. Eren Stephens confirmed Wednesday. They have not been arrested. Police expect to have a warrant request ready for the Wayne County prosecutor this week, she said.

Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans Inc., relocated his company headquarters downtown four years ago and, mainly through partners at Rock Ventures, has bought more than 60 properties, ranging from vacant lots to skyscrapers and other buildings. He's found tenants and brought more than 12,000 workers downtown.

Rock Ventures spokeswoman Jennifer Kulczycki said the organization as well as others in the area are proud of downtown Detroit.

“We’re trying to collectively make Detroit a great place to live, work and play,” Kulczycki said. “I think it was more a pride thing that anything else. We have a zero-tolerance policy of defacing downtown Detroit.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com
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