G.F. restaurant owner is repeat burglary victimGRAND FORKS — In 28 years, Terry Jenson’s various Grand Forks restaurants have been burglarized 22 times. It doesn’t faze him anymore.
By: By Susanne Nadeau, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS — In 28 years, Terry Jenson’s various Grand Forks restaurants have been burglarized 22 times. It doesn’t faze him anymore.
The latest incident happened after 1 a.m. Monday, at Jenson’s Gramma Butterwicks Family Restaurant.
Someone gained entrance into the building by prying open a door. They then took money and checks from a semisecret location.
In the 17 years since Jenson and his wife, Ruth, opened Gramma Butterwicks, it was the 13th time the restaurant has been burglarized.
Jenson started out in the restaurant business in 1981, owning several businesses in different locations in the city since that time, including Gramma Butterwicks, Gordy’s Cafe, Dakota Restaurant and Highway Host.
One of the more memorable incidents involved Gramma Butterwicks and a couple of “garbage cans on wheels,” Jenson said.
Someone broke into the restaurant and loaded a freezer full of meat into the garbage cans and strolled off down the street with them, Jenson said. No suspect was arrested, but the garbage cans full of meat were recovered. The meat was unusable, he added.
“I don’t believe we’ve ever caught one person,” Jenson said of the numerous burglaries. “None that I remember, anyway.”
Gramma Butterwicks has a homey atmosphere. Nobody just walks by Jenson on their way in or out of the building. They stop to say hello, joke and laugh. And to ask for news on the burglary.
The easygoing 62-year-old took the latest burglary in stride. But someone breaking into the building and stealing money is upsetting, he admitted.
“What got me the most was getting up at 2 in the morning,” he said. And there also is the feeling of personal space being invaded.
More than anything, Jenson said, “I feel bad because people have to live like that.”
To break into a business for a few hundred dollars isn’t a good way to live life, Jenson said. And he doesn’t understand why they do it, “unless they are addicted to something,” he added.
The most significant amount of money stolen from one of his businesses was about $6,000, Jenson said. And at the time, the money was in a “tear-gas” safe in the floor.
The burglar or burglars pulled the safe out of the floor and broke the back of the safe open in order to retrieve the money, he said.
“What they didn’t know was that I had more money in a locked drawer,” he laughed.
It’s not so much about the stolen money, he said, but the cost to repair the damage from the break-in.
“We just about have to eat all of the costs,” Jenson said.
The cost to repair the door most likely will come out of his pocket. In the past, he’s had to pay for broken windows and locks.
Jenson had an alarm installed in Gramma Butterwicks, one that sounds off at the Grand Forks Police Department if anyone enters the building after the 4 p.m. closing time.
“There’s no way to keep ‘em out,” he said. “If they want in, they are going to get in.”
He said he used to become discouraged because “it seemed like every year” there was another break-in.
Not so much anymore. Jenson is a three-year cancer survivor.
“I don’t take things as serious as I used to,” he said. “You gotta live for the day. There are good people and bad people. For me, I guess you gotta have fun while you can.”
Police continue to investigate the burglary at Gramma Butterwicks.
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