PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many businesses were already on financially shaky ground after weeks of COVID-19 closures. Now some have to clean up massive damage after being ransacked by unruly crowds over the weekend.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is in Philadelphia touring the damage Monday.
This weekend’s looting pretty much erased the livelihood of a number of small businesses.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney couldn’t get a word in as angry neighbors screamed on during his tour of West Philadelphia Monday.
A number of businesses were vandalized, including the ShopRite of Parkside and all the stores in the shopping center.
“We know that the police could not have stopped this but we think it would have been minimized if we had some police presence,” one woman said.
Wolf visited the store Monday and listened to neighbor concerns.
“This is a place where you buy food, pharmaceuticals, cash checks. This is a real problem,” Wolf said.
Wolf said there is much work that needs to be done to eradicate racism in the country. He also said it’s time to redouble efforts to establish a commonwealth that is fair, decent and equal.
The ShopRite owner says looters ravaged the store for 15 hours straight, taking whatever they wanted from the pharmacy, liquor department and cash register.
“Those are communities that don’t have a lot of money and need those stores, so the saddest part of this is that this looting has affected people of color the most. And the lack of police protection in those stores is not right,” owner Jeff Brown said.
In the end, it’s the community that will feel the long-term effects of the looting.
“Especially the poor elderly people that don’t have bank accounts. This week they received their income. They live check to check and they can’t go to the check-cashing place because it’s vandalized,” said Atiya Turner, with Love is Key Corporation.
In anticipation of this weekend’s looting, a number of stores like Target in Spring Garden have been boarded up.
Other businesses weren’t as lucky and now they’ve suffered a complete loss.