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Harper Woods — A long-established church thrift shop that burned to the ground Monday morning had been robbed and vandalized repeatedly recently.

According to the Rev. Thomas Priest Jr., the Redeemer Thrift Shop had just installed glass-block security windows, and was about to install security cameras this week, when the shop went up in flames at about 3 a.m.

“It’s still too early to tell if it was arson or not,” Priest said.

The thrift shop in the 20500 block of Vernier has been sponsored by the Redeemer United Methodist Church for the past 50 years.

“The thrift shop was very popular and has provided important services to people over the decades,” said Priest, who has led the church for the past two years. “We don’t know if we’ll rebuild. First, we’ll get folks together to grieve and then we’ll make some decisions about the future.”

According to Priest, individuals had broken into the thrift shop three times in the past two weeks to steal and vandalize the property.

“They did both, but it wasn’t all that bad,” said Priest, who was called to the fire at about 3:40 a.m.

“Please pray for us as we grieve for this loss.”

TGreenwood@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2023

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