Slows, Noodle King latest victims in spate of Corktown break-ins

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This morning's reported break-ins at Johnny Noodle King and Slows Bar BQ are the latest in a string of incidents this year at Corktown restaurants and shops that culminated with a break-in and suspected arson at Katoi in February.

Police say the back door of Johnny Noodle King was pried open with a crow bar overnight. The owner of the Fort Street ramen spot told Metro Times that while some things appeared to have been rifled through, nothing was taken. At Slows on Michigan Avenue, Detroit Police Spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno says it's not yet clear whether what happened can be classified as a break-in because there were no signs of forced entry. It's possible, she said, that a door may have been left open.

"Am I surprised? No. Am I bummed out? Yeah," Johnny Noodle King owner Jacques Driscoll said of the incident. Driscoll also owns Green Dot Stables on W. Lafayette and Huron Room on Bagley. "Hopefully we can just use it as a learning tool and put new locks on. It's scary though, you do feel a little violated."

The ownership of Nemo's, Artifactry, and Metropolis Cycles — a restaurant and two retail shops along Michigan Avenue — are no strangers to the feeling. All three businesses were broken into between late January and February. Police believe they have caught the suspect in connection with the incidents and say he's a 27-year-old named Michael Allen Horton. Horton has pleaded not guilty to the crimes and is due for trial on May 17.

McShane's Irish Bar, also along Michigan Avenue, had a plate glass window shattered during that stretch of time, though a suspect was never caught. Owner Bob Roberts says the damage cost him $1,400.

"It’s pretty unusual for stuff like that to happen and this broken glass was the first bit of trouble we've had," said Roberts, who has been in business on the corner of Michigan Ave. and Trumbull for the past five years. "While we maintain [Corktown is one of the] safest neighborhoods in the city, we’re also very conscious of the fact that a lot of our foot traffic and guests come from the suburbs and it's important for our brand that we have a sense of safety and security. So though these nuisance-type crimes may not seem like that big of a deal, they’re a big deal to the business community."

Though car break-ins are not uncommon along Michigan Avenue in Corktown, it is rare that businesses are broken into. Driscoll calls what happened at Johnny Noodle King today a "reality check."

"There's a lot more opportunities in Detroit for this type of thing, there's a lot more people," he said. "I don't want to say there's more money, but there's certainly stuff going on."

Police say a used car dealership on Michigan Avenue was also broken into early this morning. The incidents all reportedly occurred between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and police are looking into whether they are linked.

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