Alpena police locate flower display suspects

Courtesy Photo A large display of flowers designed to look like popcorn and butter inside of a popcorn box was one of the main attractions during the Flower Festival in Alpena over the weekend.

ALPENA — The two women suspected of stealing a flower display that was set up in front of the Sanctuary Cinema for the Flower Festival have been located by police and the flower display was recovered.

According to Alpena Police Chief Eric Hamp, a series of public tips and evidence uncovered during the police investigation led to the two women being located.

Hamp said the women have not been arrested yet and it will be up to theater owner Jeff Konczak to decide if he wants to press charges.

Konczak indicated he may work with police and the local courts to cut the women a break, but still hold them accountable and reluctant to commit a similar crime again.

Police have not released the names of the women.

“Technically, this is still under investigation and we’re waiting to see if the owner wants to press charges because it’s his property,” Hamp said. “If he chooses not to, then the case is closed. If he does, then the case will go to the prosecutor for review and potential charges.”

Konczak said although he is upset with the situation, he doesn’t want to be excessive and destroy the woman’s life. However, he said there needs to be some level of accountability, so they don’t behave the same way later.

“I would like to see deferred charges, which means if they stay out of trouble, no charges will be pressed,” Konczak said. “But, if they screw up again, then the charges will be pressed and they will get the book thrown at them. We just can’t walk away from this. They need to be held accountable to some degree because we don’t want to see this type of problem get worse. My hope is they learn a lesson from this.”

The display featured a large popcorn box stuffed with white flowers representing popcorn and yellow balloons symbolizing melted butter.

An employee discovered the flower feature missing when she opened the theater on Sunday morning.

Cinema management reviewed security camera footage which showed the two women disassembling the display, stealing it, and driving off at about 12:14 a.m. Sunday morning. Early Sunday afternoon, police viewed the surveillance footage and on Monday released a screenshot of the video that showed the two women undoing and taking the display.

It appears that the incident involving the flower display at the cinema was the lone issue in terms of damage to the flower installations during the Flower Festival, as there were no other reports of damaged or missing displays.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 or sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.


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