PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Carpenters spent the afternoon putting plywood up over the windows of William Sonoma as a precaution with another George Floyd rally and march planned for nearby East Liberty.
It’s a precaution many businesses have started employing after a similar protest in downtown Pittsburgh turned violent on Saturday, leaving 71 businesses damaged or looted.READ MORE: Police Arrest Suspect Following Home Invasion In Fineview
Shaw Forcucci and his crew from DraxxHall Management were busy with a power washer today removing graffiti, “I get the idea behind it but I don’t see a reason having to damage property of people who have nothing to do with their cause.”
Over 50 years living in Pittsburgh Diane Taylor looked around at the aftermath and called it despicable. As an African American woman she supports the protest over the death of George Floyd but, “They didn’t have to do that, this is not what was supposed to have to happen with George Floyd.”
Three shop owners in a row on the first floor of the Clark Building – Pittsburgh’s Diamond District – were too upset about the attacks on their stores to talk. In each case their front windows were smashed and today a half block of plywood covers the face of the building.
Henry Rothchild at Broff’s Diamond Center was out of state when the attack happened around 7:30 Saturday evening. He watched his security cameras on his phone as his front window was smashed by a brick, and then a wave of looters climbed into his store.
A protective barrier built just inside the door for COVID-19 safety slowed them down but didn’t stop them.
Rothchild said in a statement: “The guys that broke in weren’t part of any movement. Their actions don’t speak for anyone else.
“I think they saw an opportunity and took it and it’s just so disappointing. It’s very hard to watch something you care about get destroyed with such abandon. But nothing was stolen. Everyone’s jewelry is safe. So now we are moving on and looking ahead.”READ MORE: New Castle Police Department Investigating Fatal Shooting
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- Pittsburgh Public Safety Has Declared ‘Unlawful Assembly’ Downtown, Urging Businesses To Close, Residents To Stay Home
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At the Subway restaurant, owner Harvy Mann says the register was cleaned out, a safe was broken into and emptied — not to mention food and drinks.
Mann says, “This is not a protest, this is vandalism, vandalism plain and simple.”
At the Original Oyster House, which will celebrate its 150th Anniversary this year, several of its windows, including some made of antique glass, were no match for the rioters.
Owner Jenn Grippo says, “It was sad but a lot of the downtown neighbors, everyone we really came together to help each other out.”
The attack and now the cleanup comes as Grippo like so many other restaurant owners were getting ready to open up their restaurant seating on Friday when the “green” phase begins.
“We aren’t going to be exactly where I wanted us to be as we open, but we’re going to do the best we can to get things back to normal, whatever that is these days.”MORE NEWS: Butler Area School District Working On 'After School' Meal Program
What is most disconcerting to both residents and shop owners is what happens next. Those who put up plywood over their windows as a precaution say they’ve been told to keep it up for a few more days because no one knows what might happen next.