“There were police officers and dogs,” she said. "The doors were all smashed in."
Carron, who manages Plantenga’s Cleaners at the strip mall just south of Ferris Street in Grand Haven Township, said she was called at 4 a.m. that day about a break-in at the store.
Three other stores in the strip mall — New Creation Coffee, Acaquario Hair Salon and Mancino's — had also been vandalized.
Police responded shortly after 3:30 a.m. when an alarm system was activated — likely by the suspects — at the coffee shop, the only store where nothing was taken.
Joe Helder, manager of the coffee shop, said the alarm is very loud. He said the alarm's monitor log shows that the suspects were in the coffee shop for less than a minute.
Helder said it appears the suspects smashed in the shop's front door, set off the alarm, and ran through the store and out its back door, spreading broken glass throughout the store. They even ran by a tip jar that had a few dollars in it.
Damage was more severe at the dry cleaning store.
“They smashed the safe and took the contents,” Carron said. "They smashed the desk and broke into that. The office was a mess.”
Corey St. John Vliem said there was no damage in her hair salon besides the door. The storeowner said she left the cash drawer open, but not much was in it.
“The only thing they took from me was my change, thank goodness,” she said.
St. John Vliem said she emptied the salon's cash drawer before closing the prior night because she was aware of break-ins at stores in the Holland area, and that the break-ins appeared to be migrating north.
Damage was said to be more severe at Mancino’s. A call to the restaurant’s owner was not returned before press time.
Police are still looking for leads into these and similar break-ins in the county.
“We probably can attribute about 30 of these countywide that have the same method of operations,” said Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.
Police have no suspects at this time, but are working through a lot of good tips, Bennett said.
“We welcome more," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer at 877-88-SILENT, or leave a tip online at mosotips.com.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.