40 minutes pass before police dispatched to active burglary at Detroit grocery store

Via Yelp user Redic G.
Via Yelp user Redic G.

It’s tough doing business in Detroit.

Take Lafayette Foods, a grocery store near downtown that has been robbed three times in the past month.

The latest robbery came this morning when two thieves in a vehicle slammed through the plate-glass windows on Lafayette near St. Aubin and stole a safe from the store’s pharmacy.

A witness quickly called 911 but police weren’t dispatched for about 40 minutes, Police Chief James Craig told WWJ.

“I’m not happy about this,” Craig told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “They crashed in and I understand that allegedly, because it’s still early in the investigation, but allegedly our communications center held the call for 40 minutes. That’s not our protocol… We prioritize our calls to service crimes in progress. So, there’s an expectation if there are no available units, that you find an available unit anywhere in the city.”

RELATED: Detroit police baffled after thieves break into cop cars outside of precinct

Craig said the department is investigating what went wrong.

Budget cuts in the bankrupt city have left the police department woefully understaffed, forcing some victims to wait hours for an officer to respond.

That is one reason the police chief encouraged responsible people to arm themselves in January.

A month later, Detroit homeowners shot and killed at least six burglars.

RELATED: Good Samaritan: Detroit holds arsonist at gunpoint until police arrive 

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.