Thief uses sledgehammer to break into Taylor Verizon store

A new Verizon store in Taylor has been open for just three months and got welcomed to the neighborhood with a smash and grab.

The end result is a broken store front door and thousands in stolen goods, part of a crime spree in which cell phone stores are the prime target.

It starts innocently enough when security camera shows a vehicle pulling into the Cerizon store lot on Telegraph near I-94 at 4 a.m. Sunday morning.

 "Out there, 20 minutes in the parking lot, acting like his car was broken down," said Brandon Kiminaia, the store manager.

 A closer look shows he is up to no good with his face covered with a bandana and no license plate on his car. Then he pulls out a sledgehammer.

"He knew what he was doing,  he's done this before," Kiminaia said.

A few taps on the glass door and it shatters. Once inside, he fills his shopping bag first going for bluetooth headsets - valued at a couple hundred dollars each. Then cell phones, taking only the most expensive on display.

He then ripped a tablet off the wall. In and out in about two minutes.

"We start off trying to build an empire," Kiminaia said. "And then there is someone coming and trying to ruin everything. It doesn't make you feel comfortable to be working."

Taylor police responded shortly after and can be seen on video looking in the back of the store with a gun at the ready. But it was too late, the suspect is long gone.

The manager says what happened here should be a wake-up call.

"Whoever owns these other stores they are coming right for you," said Kiminaia. "One after another."

He has good reason to think that. In April Verizon stores in Berkley and Ferndale were hit in a similar fashion. Security video was released showing five men ransacking the business after breaking the store front window before leaving with whatever they can grab.

While these crimes are caught on video, they have yet to be caught themselves.

The manager said he hopes that if someone sees the video, they recognize who he is and contacts police. 

Kiminaia said that he estimates about $5,000 was stolen in merchandise and even more in damages. He said luckily they have the serial numbers for the stolen goods.
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