GOBLES, Mich. — A Van Buren County man doesn't know what the future holds for his new business. His property was heavily vandalized last week, and now he's unsure if the business that he's worked to launch for almost a decade will ever open its doors.
Ryan Long has been working to open DirtBag Brewing Company in Gobles for seven years. But after a group of teenagers vandalized the building, everywhere you step inside, there's broken glass.
"The dirt, all the wood is covered in it," says Long.
He discovered it last Thursday. The Van Buren County Sheriff's Office told him the group of three 13-year-olds had been inside for three days straight.
"They had smashed and taken two of the cameras so I wasn't aware or notified when they were here," says Long.
Every window was broken, even on two vehicles. Smashed in with rocks, golf clubs and anything else they could find.
"They used a fence post here that they found and took down and threw through the windows," says Long.
A construction vehicle also had parts torn out of the engine and sand put into the oil compartment.
"I couldn't really believe it," says Long. "It's unimaginable."
Long's first assessment was around $100,000 in repairs. After a week of getting quotes, that estimate has doubled.
"It looks like it'll probably be excess of $200,000," he says.
On top of that, none of the building is insured, after two previous break-ins left it uninsurable.
He expected to open later this year, but now Long's seven-year dream is in serious doubt.
"It's kind of unrecoverable for me," says Long. "It's just such a huge hit, being self-funded and put together by just me. I've put all my time, savings, retirement, everything into this building and now basically I have to almost start over."
A friend has launched a GoFundMe for Long, and some local businesses plan to host fundraisers as well. He's thankful to the community for helping him pick up the broken pieces.
"Just getting things put back together," says Long.
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