News

Monroe County business targeted twice, lobby lit on fire

Hassett Tile Company
Posted at 10:42 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 23:16:04-04

MONROE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Police in Monroe are releasing new video asking for help to identify a suspect seen targeting a downtown Monroe business.

Earlier this week, someone smashed in the window of Hassett Title on East Front Street to light a fire inside the business. It was the second time the family-owned business was targeted this month.

"We don’t know why this is occurring,” Hassett Title Vice President Doug Hassett said.

Hassett and his family are not only concerned but confused. The first threat was a bomb threat on March 14 that was written on a letter slid under the door. On Tuesday, it went a step further. Someone threw a rock through the front window and lit the lobby on fire.

“The entire main floor is pretty much a loss at this point," Hassett said. "Hopefully, it’s not going to be a complete gut to restore it.”

Nearby businesses are also on alert.

"It’s very concerning," said Ed Shinevare, who owns Cravings Sports Cards and Collectibles. "I have children coming here all the time. I have customers coming here all the time.”

Cravings was not damaged, although Shinevare says they smelled smoke for a while after the fire.

Hassett says they have no idea why their storefront is the one being targeted.

"It’s unsettling. We don’t know whether or not this is just a random act or if they have a perceived vendetta against us for what they consider some level of wrongdoing,” Hassett said. "We process real estate transactions. Granted, there are real estate transactions that can be met with volatility, but nothing to the level of the acts of aggression we’ve received.”

Monroe police say the suspect seen on video is likely responsible for both threats. They’ve also put out videos showing the vehicle they believe is involved. Both police and these business owners hope someone with information steps up.

"This person who’s doing this is out to do some harm," Shinevare said. "Hopefully, they’re caught.”

There are occupied apartments above the business as well but luckily, no one was injured. Hassett Title remains open and will soon be opening a temporary location down the street.

Anyone with information should contact the Monroe Police Department Detective Bureau. Detective Merkle can be reached at 734-243-7517.