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Posted on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Break-in at Ann Arbor Thrift Shop shocks, saddens organization's president

By Kyle Feldscher

The president of the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop said she's shocked and saddened by a burglary at the store over the weekend, but volunteers are determined to not let the incident affect their mission.

Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said someone broke into the business at 3530 Washtenaw Ave. between 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:20 a.m. Sunday. A volunteer coming into work at the shop discovered a broken window in a side door at the business, Bush said. A fax machine and cash were reported stolen.

Mary Breakey, president of the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, said there had been a few attempted break-ins in the past. The incident surprised Breakey and others at the shop, but she said she could understand why it happened.

“We are really saddened by it and shocked,” she said. “But, we also understand people in our community are in need and really desperate. And, in desperate times, people do things like this.”

The nonprofit shop has been operating since 1932, and more than 300 people volunteer their time to help out at the store. Breakey said the thrift shop donated $200,000 to people and families in need in 2012.

The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop gives monthly support and provides grants to local social service agencies while also helping individuals who need more direct help.

Breakey said potential intruders had previously targeted the side door that was the point of entry in this weekend’s break-in. Whoever entered the thrift shop and stole the cash and fax machine broke through a window with heavy-duty wire mesh inside, Breakey said.

The door faces another business and is not well lighted, she said. When the volunteer showed up to work Sunday morning, the smashed window was discovered and the police were called immediately.

“The police were excellent and arrived promptly,” she said, adding the door’s been temporarily fixed to allow the thrift shop to reopen.

Breakey said the incident was scary but could have been worse. She’s grateful no volunteers were in the shop when the incident happened and no one was injured.

“We’re open for business and it’s not going to stop us from continuing our mission, which we’ve had for over 80 years in Ann Arbor,” she said.

No suspect description was available from police Monday morning. Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).

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Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Desperate times is not a reason, it is an excuse !


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

This likely has nothing to do with a needy person stealing to feed their family. It is more likely a drug addict stealing to feed his fix. Please invest in an alarm or security cameras. For a few hundred dollars you could prevent future incidents.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Better to screw a framed piece of heavy plexiglass inside the window and slightly larger than the opening.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Please don't leave cash on the premises anymore, Ms. Breakey. The scum will be less tempted.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

Hardly Ms. Breakey's fault: not likely the scum can posit a cash amount. I suspect they are just "tempted" to break in on spec.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Since this is a very worthy nonprofit organization, perhaps one of the local alarm companies could install an alarm system for them. Good public relations and a service to the community at large. As for the scum that broke in, they need a good smack upside their heads.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

Scum doesn't have a's just scum.....has nothing to do with all the " poor " people remarks that will be posted on the daily blurb ..real people have values rich or poor ....


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Wonder if could be same jerk(s) who broke into House By The Side Of The Road late last year.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

nothing like biting the hand that feeds you...


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

More likely your neighbors kids Suzanne, maybe even your own


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

This is the new culture if someone else has something you want, just take it.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Yeah, unfortunately all the income is going to the top lately.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Oh yeah, because we NEVER had burglaries before! EVER!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Hmm...sounds a lot like income redistribution! :) lol Anyone come to mind? :)


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Need an alarm system. Too isolated at night. Easy entry through window. They are lucky this didn't happen sooner. Scum hanging around these parking lots doesn't help.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:16 a.m.

There are SIGNIFICANT deterents to B and E that cost little to no money. Security is about passive deterence. Security systems dont protect against burgulary, they simply help minimize loss. Place those $1.oo Motion sensors noise makers on window contact points, place some large alarm signs on the side, front and back of the building. , add a 2,3 or 4 solar powered motion sensored lights at key points around the building, and perhaps one or two dummy cameras and that business has likely reduced their risk of B and E 10 fold all for less then 100 dollars. Also great is to get a non-monitored alarm system that simply calls a pre-set number to alert the person their alarm has gone off. Its a bit more money but its a one time investment rather then paying significant monitering fees which are not needed.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Callous comment J


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

This is an all volunteer not for profit organization - they don't want to put $$ into an alarm system

Dog Guy

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

The suspect is green and wears a Santa suit.