Ander's Shoe Store, run by 103-year-old- Dena Ander in downtown Miami, was the target of a break-in and burglary late last week and then gutted by fire early Tuesday.
UPDATE 7:50 A.M.: Miami Fire Chief Robert Wright has confirmed the Tuesday fire is deemed to be suspicious based on what was initially observed at the scene and currently under investigation.
UPDATE 07.10.18 | 7:20 A.M.: The Miami Fire Department was on the scene responding to a fire that apparently occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, July 10 at Anders Shoe Store in downtown Miami. The incident follows the break-in and burglary at the location late last week. Details are still emerging and it currently remains unknown if the burglary and fire are linked, but the storefront was completely ravaged by the blaze. Miami FD could not yet provide a statement as the matter is still under investigation.
MIAMI – A burglar has struck a long established Miami business, Anders Shoe Store in downtown Miami.
The shoe store is owned by 103-year-old Dena Ander, who built the business alongside her father and has carried on his legacy now for over 75 years.
Joe Ander started the shoe store in 1930, which has been located at 27 South Main since 1936, as a shoe repair business. Previously, he had repaired shoes for the Russian Army while living in Poland at the turn of the 20th century. He immigrated to America in 1912.
When Ander was only a sophomore, her family moved to Miami after the Picher mines started to plunge in 1930. She began working at her father’s shoe store that year as a saleswoman.
According to Miami Police Chief Thomas Anderson, early Saturday, July 7, someone threw a large, heavy Master brand lock through the store's front door breaking the glass to gain entry.
The vandalism and burglary was discovered around 8:45 a.m. Saturday when the shopkeepers came to open the store and discovered the smashed glass door, Anders ransacked office and other damages.
“They ransacked her office something terrible,” employee Shirley Shelton said.
A small, undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the store's register.
“The biggest loss was the damages to the door,” Anderson said. “The owner is still taking inventory to see if there are additional losses.”
Anders then discovered on Monday, July 10, the burglars had returned and may have used a stolen set of keys to enter and take even more cash from the store.
“Honey, I'm not very good right now, they've been back in here again,” Ander said by phone on Monday. “They came back last night and took the rest of the cash. They had a key they took with them.”
Monday grew even worse for Ander.
“That's not the whole story, when I came back from McDonald's I went in my house and went to wash my hands in the bathroom and there was a snake in my bathtub,” Ander said. “It's been one thing after another. My yard man was there and we got it, but we don't know how it got in there.”
Ander is beloved by many in Miami and the crime has caused outrage from community members.
Anderson said officers are still investigating the crime and asks anyone with information to call the Miami Police Department at 918-542-5585.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.