CHICAGO (AP) — Security cameras captured the pillaging of a West Side Chicago convenience store hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned vandals that the city would hold them accountable for ransacking downtown retailers.
Walid Mouhammad, owner of African Food & Liquor, watched surveillance video helplessly from home on Monday as thieves destroyed his ATM, safe and cash register, stealing money and ripping the store apart in the process.
Mouhammad has worked there for 33 years, the last 20 as its owner. He says he knows his customers by name and they rely on his market for produce and meat.
That’s why he spent around $300,000 to reopen after being vandalized in late May during violence sparked by anger after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. He’s not sure if he’ll be able to rebuild again.
Mouhammad says police were just a block away when his landlord and several workers called 911 to report that people were trying to break into the store.
He says Chicago police officers arrived about a half hour after the store had already been emptied.
Chicago officials under pressure to reassure residents after hundreds of people vandalized and stole from downtown businesses say they will respond forcefully to any similar attempts during the weekend.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlined the strategy on Friday, including a Chicago Police team that will monitor social media around the clock for efforts to organize looting or other crime.
The city also plans to use large trucks and concrete barriers if needed to limit access to commercial areas. Police Superintendent David Brown said citywide teams will be deployed to back up local police patrols.
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