Police seek Flower Festival vandals

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena police Sergeant J.C. Valley, left, and Sanctuary Cinema Assistant Director of Operations Caitlynn Shadbolt review surveillance footage on Sunday that shows a pair of people who damaged a display that was a part of Alpena’s Flower Festival and stole part of it.

ALPENA — Police in Alpena are searching for a pair of suspects who damaged and stole a portion of one of the floral displays that was part of this past weekend’s Flower Festival in Alpena.

Surveillance footage from the Sanctuary Cinema has been turned over to police, which will begin its investigation into the alleged crime and finding the suspects. The vehicle the suspects left in can also be seen in the video.

The damaged and stolen display was discovered by an employee arriving at work on Sunday morning who called the police after reviewing the surveillance footage.

The News was able to review the surveillance video from the front of the theater and it shows what appears to be a pair of young women approaching the theater from the area of the Black Sheep at 12:14 a.m. They used flashlights on their cellphones while disassembling the display which featured a large popcorn box with large white flowers to represent popcorn and yellow balloons for butter. The flowers and balloon were left behind in the planter that was inside the oversized popcorn box. The suspects left the scene in the same direction as they came.

The video also showed that one of the suspects set her cell phone on the sidewalk to undo the decoration and while doing so, dropped a sticker from The Black Sheep on the ground that the cinema employee discovered and picked up while opening the theater Sunday morning before viewing the video.

The suspect left her phone but quickly came back to retrieve it before leaving the scene in the car and passing in front of the cinema.

Several cars passed the suspects as they removed the display and walked away with it, which means there could be someone who saw the incident.

Police Chief Eric Hamp said videos tend to help police locate suspects and in this case, if they are located and arrested, they could see consequences.

He said it is possible the two suspects could be charged with destruction of property and larceny if apprehended and charged with a crime. Hamp said the cost of the damage and the value of what was stolen will determine if the chargers will be misdemeanors or felonies.

Cinema owner Jeff Konczak was upset about the theft and damage to the decoration. He said it cheats others of a chance to see and take photos with the display and worse still, may make businesses reconsider spending money on things like Flower Festival.

“People wonder why some businesses don’t step up and do more and this is a great example why,” he said. “It is not cheap to do something like this and then some jerks go and try to ruin it for everyone.”

As of Sunday afternoon, it appears the flower feature at the theater was the only one to be damaged badly. With the rain and wind, there were some flower petals and leaves scattered around some displays, but no damage appeared intentional.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the Alpena Police Department at 989-354-1800.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today