GROSSE POINTE PARK (WWJ) – Police say one person is in custody following an attempted firebombing at the lakeside estate of a prominent businessman.

The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. Friday at the rumored $1.7 million home of Art Van Furniture President Gary Van Elslander, on Whittier Street just south of East Jefferson Avenue. The home is located in an upscale community in Grosse Pointe Park along Lake St. Clair, just north of the Detroit River.

According to reports, a “molotov cocktail” was thrown against the side of the house. A security screen stopped the device from exploding, but it did break the window. No one was injured.

Someone inside the home heard the glass breaking and called police, who came and investigated the incident. Police reportedly were able to track footprints away from the house and over a brick fence around the property.

“We are investigating the firebombing,” Police Chief David Hiller said. “It’s an ongoing, active investigation. We have had officers there since it occurred, and we have recovered some evidence.”

Hiller said police will be looking to prosecute whoever is responsible for the incident.

“This is serious, whether it’s kids or adults, it’s serious, and we are treating it as a very serious offense, obviously,” he said.

Van Elslander is the son of Art Van Elslander, who founded the Art Van Furniture empire in 1959. Since then, Art Van Furniture has grown into the largest furniture store chain in the state of Michigan and the eighth largest nationwide.


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