After multiple break-ins, businesses upset with Lakes Mall over ‘lack of security’

Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-25 18:01:20-04

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Jeff and Corrine Fortenbacher run Maui Waui Coffees and Smoothies inside the Lakes Mall in Fruitport Township.

Lately, it keeps getting hit by burglars overnight. Despite people getting into the building after hours, these business owners say, it doesn’t seem to be a concern for mall management.

Jeff Fortenbacher said of the thieves, "That's all they want is cash." A nearby store captured the burglar on surveillance video on multiple occasions going into the smoothie shop. Fortenbacher said several other stores have been hit.

The couple said business had been fine for the past seven years. The problems started this summer. After each incident, the husband and wife said they’ve made their kiosk more and more secure, but the thief or thieves keep coming back. The Fortenbachers believe it’s up to mall management to increase mall security.

"We've been trying diplomatically to get them to... for years, the police have been trying to get them to get cameras out here for years and management, corporate just refuses to do that," Fortenbacher said.

He said mall management needs to “put some surveillance cameras on the outside, because there’s no surveillance cameras outside of this mall anywhere.”

They also want an extra security guard to patrol the grounds overnight. The Fortenbachers said only one guard is on duty during that time, and they wouldn't be surprised if it's an inside job. The couple points out that the guard happens to hover around their kiosk minutes before and after the break-ins but does nothing.

“He looks in very carefully probably for about 10 seconds. He’s looking at it, the damage to the kiosks door. The actual security guard and never turns it into management," he said.

Fortenbacher said, "We're over $2,000 into this thing between cash, security cameras and safes and busted cabinet. We're frustrated to say the least."

The mall's general manager said he couldn't comment. However, Sean Phillips with the corporate office, CBL and Associates released the following statement.

"The safety and comfort of our shoppers, employees and tenants is our top priority. Mall security is a 24/7 365-day program inside and outside the property. We will continue to work with local police department to ensure our standards are maintained. We cannot release any other specifics about security as it would compromise our program."

Like the Fortenbachers, the Fruitport Township Police Department said here have been problems at the mall and that it's an ongoing investigation.