Woman Secretly Lived Inside Store Sign for a Year

Police in Michigan say she had a computer and coffee maker in there
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2024 1:47 PM CDT
Woman Secretly Lived Inside Store Sign
A Family Fare store is shown in Midland, Mich., Thursday, May 9, 2024. A woman was living in the store sign for about a year.   (Heather Jordan/Saginaw News via AP)

Contractors curious about an extension cord on the roof of a Michigan grocery store made a startling discovery: A 34-year-old woman was living inside the business sign, with enough space for a computer, printer, and coffee maker, police said. The woman, whose name was not released, told police she had a job elsewhere but had been living inside the Family Fare sign in Midland for roughly a year before she was discovered on April 23, per the AP. "She was homeless," officer Brennon Warren of the Midland Police Department said Thursday. "It's a story that makes you scratch your head, just somebody living up in a sign."

The Family Fare store is in a retail strip with a triangle-shaped sign at the top of the building. The sign structure, about 5 feet wide and 8 feet high, has a door and is accessible from the roof, Warren said. "There was some flooring that was laid down. A mini desk," he said. "Her clothing. A Keurig coffee maker. A printer and a computer—things you'd have in your home." The woman was able to get electricity through a power cord plugged into an outlet on the roof, Warren said.

There was no sign of a ladder. Warren said it's possible the woman made her way to the roof by climbing up elsewhere behind the store or other retail businesses. "I honestly don't know how she was getting up there. She didn't indicate, either," he said. A spokesperson for SpartanNash, the parent company of Family Fare, said store employees responded "with the utmost compassion and professionalism." Warren said the woman was cooperative and quickly agreed to leave. No charges were pursued.

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"We provided her with some information about services in the area," the officer said. "She apologized and continued on her way. Where she went from there, I don't know." The director of a local nonprofit that provides food and shelter assistance said Midland—which has a population 42,000—needs more housing for low-income residents. "From someone who works with the homeless, part of me acknowledges she was really resourceful," said Saralyn Temple of Midland's Open Door. "Obviously, we don't want people resorting to illegal activity to find housing. There are much better options."

(More homelessness stories.)

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