Thieves clean out the cognac from Detroit neighborhood store
Thieves who broke into an east side liquor store Monday are all set for New Year’s Eve after stealing tens of thousands of dollars in party favors including cognac, cigarettes and rolling papers.
Among the items stolen from the Big Daddy Market on Oakland near the Detroit-Hamtramck border: $16,000 cash; $14,000 in alcohol that included pricey bottles of Remy Martin, Hennessy and champagne; $7,000 worth of cigarettes; $1,000 in scratch-off lottery tickets — and every pack of rolling papers in the store.
“I looked in the counter, and there wasn’t one pack of Zig-Zag left,” store manager Bashar Habbo said, who added he’d stocked up on extra cognac — the preferred drink for many of his customers — in anticipation of New Year’s Eve.
The thieves didn’t get everything, though. A few liquor bottles were left near the entrance, along with a $5 bill.
“Five dollars — that’s all the cash we had left after this,” said Habbo, who said the store kept extra money on hand because of the upcoming holiday.
The amount of damage and the elaborate way the store was broken into indicates there was more than one person involved, Detroit Police Detective Michael Pacteles said.
“They took a lot of stuff,” he said. “Somebody’s going to have a big party on New Year’s Eve.”
Some of the alcohol the crooks swiped cost more than $200 per bottle, Habbo said.
The store is surrounded by empty fields and abandoned storefronts, which aided the crooks, Pacteles said.
“It’s a desolate area,” he said. “That gave them time to break in the way they did without anyone seeing them.
“They cut the security gate, and then cut the glass out of the door so it wouldn’t trip the alarm, and got in that way. The door actually stayed locked the whole time. They went around the motion detectors, went behind the counter, and cleaned the place out.”
Pacteles said the thieves likely used a power saw to cut through the iron security gate — “which probably caused a lot of sparks someone would have seen if there’d been anyone around,” he said. “It must’ve taken them a long time to get in.”
Pacteles said he’s waiting to see if fingerprints lifted by crime scene investigators will yield any clues. The store’s surveillance video system wasn’t working properly, he said: “I may have to take the whole hard drive and look through it.”
Monday’s break-in wasn’t Big Daddy’s first.
On Sept. 28, a man used a stolen minivan as a battering ram, purposely driving through the store’s front entrance and leaving the vehicle at the scene.
“People are crazy around here,” Habbo said.