A sign store owner was furious to find damage to the door of his shop after an attempted break-in. Fed up, he decided to put a “wanted” poster on his door, and it worked wonders.
Jim Grenig, the owner of “The Aaron Sign Shop” in Garfield Heights, Ohio, was livid when he arrived at his business at 6 am on a Saturday and found his front door damaged. Surveillance video caught the moment that the vandalism happened, and after reviewing the footage, it was evident that the suspect was actually attempting to break into the store when he caused damage to the door to the tune of $600.
After discovering the damage, Grenig called the police, who discovered the surveillance video. In the footage, the suspect is seen walking toward the sign shop on Turney Road around 3 am. When he reached the shop, he began kicking the glass door with backward kicks, but the force of his foot failed to completely bust out the glass, so the perp eventually gave up. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.
“I’m angry,” Grenig admitted. “I’ve been here 32 years. I do a lot for the community, and I was frustrated. Everybody who walked past in the morning — you know, before we saw the video footage — to me was guilty, so I looked at them like with a side eye.”
Thanks to the deductible, the damage wasn’t worth reporting to insurance, so Grenig was forced to pay for the repair out of his own pocket. Frustrated about the chain of events, Grenig not only shared the video all over social media, but he also decided to create a “wanted” sign of his own and put it right on the door that the would-be crook had damaged in hopes that he could “punk this guy out.”
“I had the means to kind of punk this guy out and let everybody see what he had done, hoping to embarrass him — maybe come forward and admit what he did,” Jim Grenig told WOIO 19 News. “What better way to do it than advertise on my own sign shop window? I’m going to give this guy his own 15 minutes of fame in the limelight hoping someone in our neighborhood recognizes him.”
The “wanted” sign was complete with screenshots of the culprit committing the crime, and Grenig hung it right on the door the crook had kicked, The Blaze reported. Explaining that the perp had taken away the advertising that he had on the window by kicking the door, Grenig promised the poster would stay up until the crook was caught.
“He took my advertising that I had on the window off by kicking the door, so I really wanted to put this guy firsthand and let everybody see what he had done,” Grenig said. “From here on out, as long as it takes, until … you are captured, sir, I will leave it up, and I will post more daily.”
Jim Grenig wasn’t the only one fed up with the uptick in crime against businesses. Weldon Hastings, who owns Weldon PC in the area, was also upset, saying that being “hurt by the community you live in is a real shot across the bow.” Grenig and Weldon joined forces, offering $500 for any information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
Shockingly, Grenig got the resolution he was looking for, but it was even better than he had hoped. Four days after the attempted break-in, Grenig got a call from a woman who said her son had admitted to the act of vandalism and that he wanted to apologize and make amends. So, not only had the culprit confessed, but his own mother was also holding him accountable, according to a follow-up report by The Blaze.
“He said, ‘Mom, I did something wrong. I’m on the news. I’m afraid to even go to work,’” Grenig told WJW Fox News 8.
The woman brought her son to the shop, where he apologized in person and explained himself. The incident humbled Grenig, who decided to give the young man a second chance.
“The young man was here in Garfield Heights at a bar on Friday night where he got jumped and pistol-whipped, had a little bit of alcohol, he was discombobulated, he was hurt, wasn’t thinking right, came over, kicked the door,” Grenig explained. “I was mad,” Grenig admitted, adding, “I wanted harm, I wanted retribution, I wanted this and that … for all the people that I’ve known in my life before that gave me breaks, I gave this kid a break.”
After the admission and apology, the mother and son signed a contract stipulating that the young man will pay Grenig for the damage he caused in monthly installments over the course of three months. As part of the contract, Grenig removed the “WANTED” poster. In addition to signing the contract, the young man and the business owner shook hands.
Jim Grenig was especially touched by the mother’s actions, saying she “took the bull by the horns and made it happen” when she brought her son to him. He added that he has “a lot of respect” for her because “you could tell that she loves her child” and “she’s concerned about him.” He also said he is relieved that he wasn’t in the store during the attempted break-in because the outcome could have been very different.
“I have to protect what’s mine and protect me, and when I’m in here, this is just like being at home,” Grenig said after the attemtped break-in.
Grenig explained that he owns several guns and believes there would have been a violent confrontation had this happened while he was in the store. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, but let this be a lesson to others. While this story ended well for all involved, many do not. And, as the Garfield Heights mayor said, this story should also “set an example of what other parents could do as well” because “for this parent to do what she did, that is incredible. That is an incredible way to parent.” I couldn’t agree more.