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Posted on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 11:13 a.m.

Jenny's Market owner Burton Hoey describes brutal attack at business

By Cindy Heflin


Burton Hoey at Jenny's Dexter Market in a photo taken earlier this month.

Melanie Maxwell I

Burton Hoey is back at Jenny’s Dexter Market today following what he said was a brutal attack Tuesday night by two men who robbed him of $55,000.

But Hoey said the attack has taken a heavy toll on him and on the market, a popular weekend destination for families looking for hayrides, pony rides, cider, pumpkins and other products.

“It’s borderline putting us out of business,” Hoey said. The cash was several months' worth of proceeds from the market, he said.

The attack also left him injured and severely shaken. “If I was an elderly person living by myself, I would move,” he said.

Hoey said he was alone outside at the market, located at 8366 Island Lake Road, about 9 p.m. Tuesday night. He had turned on a light that was powered by an extension cord inside a building at the market. Suddenly, the light went off, so he went inside to see what was wrong.

When he did, a man grabbed him and another started beating him with a wooden horse yoke, Hoey said. The assault went on for about 10 minutes as the man beat him about the head, neck legs and back, he said. “I begged ‘em to stop. I don’t know why I didn’t die. My face is a mess and I've got stitches all through my head and body.”

The assailants demanded he give them money, and Hoey said he eventually turned over the $55,000 he had taken out of the business’s safe to take to the bank the next day. He said the money was in a bag he was carrying. Once they had the cash, the robbers left, he said.

He said he couldn’t move for about 5 minutes after the assault ended but finally managed to get up and call 911. Sheriff’s deputies came and an ambulance took Hoey to the University of Michigan Hospital, where he stayed until Thursday afternoon, he said.

The attack follows a rough couple of months at the market, a popular weekend destination for families looking for pumpkins, cider, hayrides and pony rides. A worker was seriously injured in a hayride accident last month. Shortly afterward, Webster Township served the market with a stop-work order, citing violations of township zoning ordinances. Hoey has vowed to stay open and fight the order. Earlier this month, a child fell off a pony at the market.

Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate the attack. Hoey said customers at the market have been supportive since the robbery, some even telling the business to keep their change after making a purchase. He wasn't insured for the losses resulting from the theft.

As for the future of the business, Hoey said time will tell.

"I'll know in the next few months if I can pay my bills.” He said he knows he shouldn't have had that much cash on hand and said he would be making regular trips to the bank from now on.

One thing will definitely change, he said.

“I’m not going to be here after 7 p.m. at night. I don’t want to have any confrontation with anyone.”


Tony Dearing

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

Because of the high number of inappropriate comments being posted on this story, commenting has been closed.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

During the "Slut walk" discussion, there were tons of comments about not "blaming the victim". Why when someone gets brutally attacked does this change?


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

is Jenny's "a popular weekend destination for families looking for pumpkins, cider, hayrides and pony rides"?

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Ahhh...yeah. Have you not seen it? Mostly, it's families that don't know any better though.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.


Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.



Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

Burton, I wish you a speedy recovery. May God bless you and keep you. Keep on Keepin on. Those thugs will get theirs....please know that many a folk in the community are there for you. You and your family are Dexter. Stay strong, get well and healthy.

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

Definitely not.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

I beg to differ. He is not Dexter.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Think someone will take up a collection?

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

VERY interesting ..... but then again......

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

Is there any proof that it was $55k (which can easily be done by reconciling sales receipts, bank deposit history, etc.)? If it was indeed that much, sounds like an inside job to me.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

There's always money in the banana stand!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Get ready for a LOT of deleted comments, because something about this story doesn't smell right. I'm not the first one to say it, and I won't be the last.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.



Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

This story keeps getting stranger and stranger. I've never heard of any business owner sitting on months worth of revenue rather than depositing it. I'm not saying Mr. Hoey was trying to do this, but in general and overall when people keep this much money out of the banking system it's to keep it off the IRS's radar.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

That certainly is the motivation most people have when they pay their workers under the table.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

$55,000!!!?! Crazy crazy crazy

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

Crazy is, crazy does.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

Here's a reminder - after several comments were removed in the first few minutes this story was posted - that we will not allow speculation about the nature of this crime.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Those are some clever thieves, to know exactly when to hit him for the large amount of cash he'd just removed from the safe. You wouldn't think that robbing a farm stand would be all that profitable on any given night...


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

I am very sorry to hear about this attack on Mr. Hoey. The timing of this circumstance is unbelieveable. But then again, so is hording 55k in cash in your tiny farmstand for several months . I doubt that a family business could afford to hold onto that much liquidity and manage to pay staff and take care of the facility.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

No insurance. Huge wad of cash. Probably some hospital bills. How does a small business continue after such a loss? I bet the investigators are scratching their heads on this one.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

Wow, having that much cash on hand. At least he knows he shouldn't have had that much accumulated. Wonder if he had called the sheriff and said "hey, could you guys stop by when I get this out of my safe and take it to the bank" if they would have?