By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The unrest in Philadelphia has left many building fronts boarded up but the looting has not been exclusive to businesses. An organization that helps young people in the city was targeted by the very group it aims to help.

They had just moved into a new building and now their future is up in the air.

Young people breaking the law by breaking into a business don’t always know what they are climbing into. And in this case, they definitely didn’t expect an invitation back.

It might seem like a strange message.

“You don’t have to bust through it, you can walk right through it. I’ll open the door for you,” Rickey Duncan said.

Words coming from the victim of vandalism to one teen in particular, who was seen here in bright-colored pants on Broad Street Tuesday night, throwing a brick through a glass door.

“This wasn’t advocacy, this wasn’t you know protesting; this was just something to do. These kids was just following the wrong leaders,” said Duncan.

The site at Broad and Girard was recently a City Blue apparel, which was looted over the summer. So perhaps the teens who climbed inside were disappointed to only find two laptops to take.

Little did they know though how much this space has to offer.

Rickey Duncan is the executive director of NOMO, which stands for New Options More Opportunities, the foundation provides career development and life skills enhancement for young people throughout the city.

This new space was set to open next week.

“This is the reason why we do what we do,” Duncan said.

Duncan is now asking for the young looters to be identified and to return.

“I don’t want to hurt you, I don’t want to imprison you, I’m not going to press no charges. I want to offer you an opportunity,” Duncan said.

At NOMO, kids 12-18 earn a salary of $100 a week and cultivate skills that will hold far more value than any looted goods.

“Come back, come in and let us show you a better way,” Duncan said.

NOMO will likely be able to open up in the next two weeks after they replace their door and stolen laptops.


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Alexandria Hoff