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Thieves break into American Coney Island, steal empty cash register


Thieves broke into Detroit's iconic American Coney Island Thursday morning but they didn't get much − only an empty cash register.

The break-in, which may have been part of a string of break-ins downtown, happened around 5:35 a.m. at the restaurant on West Lafayette Boulevard. The cash register didn't contain any money since the business was closed when the break-in occurred, a restaurant spokesperson said.

The thieves shattered one of the restaurant's glass doors to gain entry and the total damages are expected to cost thousands of dollars, the spokesperson said.

Police say two suspects fled the scene at American. Two other break-ins also were reported downtown overnight and police are investigating if they’re connected, said Corporal Dan Donakowski.

Even amid the chaos, American didn't let it stop business. The restaurant still opened Thursday morning and has been serving customers with carry-out only while cleaning up, said Zach Sgro, an employee.

American Coney Island is a Detroit restaurant institution. It originally opened in 1917 by Constantine "Gust" Keros, a Greek immigrant. Both American and its neighbor, Lafayette Coney Island, are known for coney dogs, hot dogs with beef chili, yellow mustard and chopped white onion.

Al Roker of the "Today" show visited American Coney Island earlier this summer and featured the restaurant on his web series.

It hasn't been an easy month for Detroit's most famed coney restaurants. Lafayette remains closed after Detroit health officials shut it down because of violations involving rodents.

hmackay@detroitnews.com

@hmackayDN