DETROIT (WWJ) – One Detroit business owner is taking matters into his own hands to make sure thieves leave his liquor store alone.
Steve Bahoura, who has owned the Van Dyke Liquor Market since the 90s, said he deals with several break-ins each year and he’s tired of it.
Most recently, Bahoura said someone broke into his business, located near I-94 on the east side, in broad daylight.
“They break through the back door at 9 o’clock in the morning,” he told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.
Bahoura said he’s caught the crook on surveillance video and turned the footage over to the cops, but so far there haven’t been any arrests. So, he’s personally offering reward money in hopes that somebody will turn the robber in to police.
“I’m willing to give a $2,000 cash reward to whoever turns him in for me,” he said.
Until that man is caught, Bahoura said he’s going to be sleeping in the store with his trusty shotgun, because there’s no other way to protect his livelihood. Bahoura has two words for anyone who’s thinking of robbing his store now: Watch out.
“I don’t want to shoot him but if somebody comes here, sure I will shoot him. I’ll shoot him and I will kill him. If I’ve got to shoot my gun, you’re not going to believe it, these bullets will go all over his body. So next time, the people won’t do that to anybody else,” he said.
Bahoura said his store is especially vulnerable right now because damage done to the back door from the last break-in has yet to be repaired.
Meantime, Detroit police Chief James Craig is making a “Call To Action” this weekend, urging residents to stand up and take back city streets. Police will be passing out information on how to start block clubs and neighborhood citizen patrols at Triumph Church on Saturday morning. The department said the community event is designed to empower citizens of Detroit with information to make their neighborhoods safer.
Auday Arabo, president and CEO of Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, represents hundreds if not thousands of retailers and party store owners throughout the city. Arabo said it’s not fair for police to ask business owners to protect themselves.
“No, they definitely don’t [do enough to protect the city’s retailers]. But the thing is, they shouldn’t also ask retailers to do it on their own. It needs to be a partnership,” he said.
Arabo said the business community is especially upset after police said their complaints of people loitering outside their stores aren’t priority calls. He said loiterers provide a significant risk for customers.
“If they’re asking the retailers to actually leave the bullet-proof to go outside themselves and try to move the people without police support, then, you know, that should be a priority call,” he said.
Arabo said it’s OK for police to ask the business community for help, but they shouldn’t be placing all the responsibility in their hands.
Detroit has one of the nation’s highest violent-crime rates. Last year, the city recorded 386 criminal homicides, a 12 percent increase over 2011.