Beauty supply store among many hit during second night of looting in Philadelphia

Friday, September 29, 2023
Beauty supply store among many hit during second night of looting in Philadelphia
Beauty supply store among many hit during second night of looting in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A second night of looting left Philadelphia stores in shambles, and the chaos was caught on video.

Looters hit Nat's Beauty Supply on the 6800 block of Frankford Avenue in the city's Tacony section.

Surveillance video from a neighboring business shows seven people approaching the store late Wednesday night.

Others can be seen eventually joining in before breaking into the store and making off with bags of merchandise.

Video from inside Nat's Beauty Supply shows looters breaking the glass door, entering the business, and ripping items off the shelves and walls.

Within a minute, the looters cleared the store, leaving behind the damage.

Owner Claudia Silmeas said she raced to her business when she got the call early Thursday morning.

"On my way here all I was thinking about was, 'Please, God, don't let it be true. Don't let it be true. Don't let it be true.' And when I got here, and I saw the glass on the floor, all my products, all my hair was gone. It was heartbreaking. I'm sad. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. Now I'm just at a loss for words," Silmeas said.

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Silmeas opened the store about five months ago.

Now, she estimates she's out thousands of dollars because of the looters.

"I started it since 2020, started saving, working overnights, late night, morning, days, six, seven days a week - and now this. I don't know what to say," Silmeas said.

Other stores targeted during overnight looting

The beauty shop wasn't the only business hit on Wednesday night.

Six people were arrested overnight, and police say looters hit stores like AutoZone, Walgreens, Family Dollar, and Fine Wines and Good Spirits on Adams Avenue.

"I don't know if any retailer can be prepared for a situation like this," said Elizabeth Brassell, a spokesperson for the Pa. Liquor Control Board. "We did have 16 locations broken into over the last couple of days."

In response to the looting, the state's liquor board closed all its retail locations in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Many reopened Thursday, but some could be closed for weeks.

"With the exclusion of 10 stores that were so badly damaged, that it's going to take us some time to secure them," said Brassell.

Dozens of arrests made after citywide looting

As of Thursday afternoon, the district attorney's office said at least 64 people had been charged in connection with the looting.

The looting started on Tuesday night, hours after a judge dismissed charges against a police officer who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry.

City officials say this looting has nothing to do with the peaceful protest that followed that decision.

Community demands action

Sadja "Purple" Blackwell is one of the 30 community members who met in West Philadelphia on Thursday to discuss the second night of unrest in the city.

"We need some resources. How do we make our community sustainable enough that they don't need to go out and take an opportunity for looting or rioting? Kids don't need to go out and steal because they have enough," said Blackwell.

Residents in the area agree that the criminal activity needs to stop. However, many are unsure of how to make that happen.

"What is the solution for the next time? We are unsafe. We feel like there's going to be a next time," said Blackwell.

More meetings are being planned to discuss what can be done.