Van Elslander home in Grosse Pointe Park target of firebomb

"Molotov cocktail" thrown at window of the home of Gary and Janet Van Elslander

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

Grosse Pointe Park, MI -  Grosse Pointe Park police are searching for the person who tried to firebomb the home of a high profile local family Friday morning.

At 3:30 a.m., someone threw a "molotov cocktail" through the side window of the home of Gary and Janet Van Elslander.

--Courtesy Elslander family

Gary Van Elslander is the chairman and president of the Art Van Furniture Corporation and the son of company founder Art Van Elslander. 

 No one was hurt.

 Art Van Furniture is a multi-million dollar company and one of the largest furniture store retailers in the country.

 Damage was done to the window of the home, but the contents of the firebomb did not appear to ignite.

 "I was asleep and heard a crash, I found the molotov cocktail and ran outside in my boxer shorts to see if I could find the person who threw it," said a young man at the home who identified himself as the step-son of Gary Van Elslander. "I'm really shaken up."

 Police officers could be seen in the pitch black of the early morning hours combing the property and neighboring properties with flashlights, looking for clues.

Officers did track footprints in the grass at a lot next door.

It appears the suspect came from the east, through a park and empty lot to hop a wooden privacy fence to reach the home that sits at the end of Whittier Road.

 The home is valued at about $1.7 million, according to property records and is a riverfront property.

 The step-son said he was unaware of any threats made toward the family.

In addition to the fire-bomb, the step-son says a brick and jar of pasta sauce was also thrown at the home.

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