RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following a violent weekend, many Richmond businesses that were vandalized and looted began the rebuilding process Monday.
Surveillance cameras caught many looters in the act. Griffin Vape, located on W. Broad Street, was one of the many businesses that fell victim to violent rioters.
“I woke up to the alarm company calling me and they said there’s activity happening in your store,” said Griffin Vape store owner Adam Sanabani.
Security cameras from inside the business show looters breaking the glass door, storming into the shop and stealing merchandise early Sunday morning. Sanabani adds that the cash register was emptied.
“I tapped into the cameras and it was just a free for all, 7 or 8 people in there just taking as much as they can, running out, and rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat,” Sanabani said.
The store’s security company called the police but they did not respond. According to Sanabani, one of his employees came by and fought off the looters.
“He managed to get everybody out and then flip a big table over just to kind of cover the door,” he said.
But the damage had already been done.
Griffin Vape was just one of many businesses in the Richmond area that were either burglarized, robbed, or torched during protests that turned into riots over the weekend. The outrage stems from the incidents that led to the death of George Floyd, who is seen on video restrained by police officers, with one officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes in Minnesota.
Griffin Vape is staying open, but Sanabani boarded up the windows to further protect the business. On Monday, two men asked Sanabani if they could spray paint the name of George Floyd on the boards and Sanabani obliged.
Despite his store falling victim to looters, Sanabani says he supports the protest.
“Although I’m disheartened to see that our business was looted, I support, their message and I think it’s important that they have some reform,” he said.
8News spoke with Keta Jackson, owner of 425 Nail Bar and Pedi Lounge, who says she worries about keeping her store safe from looters as protests are expected to continue. Her business was not robbed, but there is a large crack in the front window from the heat of a nearby fire that was set in the street. Out of caution, Jackson packed up and moved her valuable items to storage on Monday.
“I need to protect my stuff so I just feel like I take my stuff and put it in storage and whatever happens, happens cause I don’t know where to go next,” Jackson said. “I have no answers, I don’t know what to do, it’s been hard, it’s been difficult.”
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