MISHAWAKA — A Mishawaka business owner says he was stunned to learn a pair of robberies reportedly occurred inside his business during the past week without his knowledge.
In two separate but connected incidents Nov. 25 and Monday, men reportedly were told by women on online communication sites to meet at Grand Paws Pet Spa in the 100 block of East Mishawaka Avenue. When the men arrived on both occasions, police said, they were instead robbed by a large group of men, one of whom might have been an employee of the business who was renting out an upstairs loft.“I was livid,” Edward Moore, owner of Grand Paws Pet Spa, said today. “That’s my livelihood. The shop is my livelihood. I can’t believe it happened not once, but twice, without my knowledge. ... I can’t put it into words.”Moore said he responded by firing and evicting the employee of his business who was living upstairs and taking care of the animals and, according to police reports, may have been involved in the robberies.Moore said the man was an employee for about four months and lived upstairs for about a month and a half.“He had fallen on some hard times,” Moore said. “But this was out of the blue. ... It’s a horrible incident.Police did not release any additional information Wednesday or today regarding the robberies, only saying they were both ongoing investigations.The St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office had not filed any charges as of today and had not received reports from the Mishawaka Police Department regarding it.In the incident last Friday night, a 31-year-old man said he had talked to a woman on an online chat site and decided to meet her at the loft above the business. After he met briefly with the woman, she left, and a group of six men came into the room and robbed the victim, police said. One of the men reportedly was holding a baseball bat.The victim told a police officer that night that he had been robbed, and he reportedly pointed out where it happened. The officer asked whether he wanted to file a police report, but the man decided to wait until he could find an exact address of the business.It is unclear why police did not investigate the complaint further Friday night. Mishawaka Police Lt. Tim Williams, the department’s spokesman, said today he could not answer that question.Three days later, on Monday, a 21-year-old Mishawaka man, believing he was meeting a woman he met on Facebook, was jumped by a group of 15 to 20 men on the first floor of the business. He was hospitalized after being hit in the back of the head with brass knuckles, police said.
According to a police report, officers interviewed three suspects, including the man who lived above the business, but it is unclear if any arrests have been made.The suspects are 17 and 19-year-old Mishawaka men and an 18-year-old South Bend man.Staff writer Tom Moor:email@example.com