Several dozen Milwaukee businesses, some already weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, face a difficult recovery after being burglarized and damaged during civil unrest.
They included three small grocery stores, multiple mobile-phone stores, a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a clothing shop on the city’s north side over the weekend.
Some of the businesses remained closed Monday, while others reopened with boarded windows and doors. Civic leaders and social activists denounced the property losses.
“The rioting and the looting have got to end now. It’s hurting everyone in the community,” said Darryl Farmer with the Black Panthers of Milwaukee.
Charnjit Kaur, who has a Metro PCS phone store and a clothing shop in Milwaukee, said her businesses had $100,000 in losses from looters who kicked in the doors and windows and stole nearly everything.
“They destroyed the building,” she said.
Three of her Stark Foods stores also were damaged.
“I was so scared, and the police came too late,” she said about dozens of looters who poured into the buildings.
A Cricket Wireless store was broken into twice in 24 hours.
“They smashed the front windows and side windows to get in, and they took as much stuff as they could before they ran away,” said store owner Nas Sarsour.
The business, which Sarsour has owned for three years, reopened Monday with boarded windows. He said he supported the protests, but that the looting made things worse in a neighborhood already struggling with job losses in the pandemic.
“People have the right to be angry. They have the right to protest. But they don’t have the right to come and break into local businesses,” he said.
Source: USA Today