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Exclusive: Center City store owner raises concerns after business ransacked

Exclusive: Business owners in Center City take steps to increase security after violent attack
Exclusive: Business owners in Center City take steps to increase security after violent attack 02:22

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some business owners are on edge and taking steps to increase security after yet another violent attack in Center City. Police say a store owner was beaten by more than a dozen juveniles Tuesday after he tried to stop them from robbing his business.

Hookahs are back on the shelves and everything has been cleaned up inside Gallery of Scents & The Gold Center but the store near 10th and Chestnut in Center City is closed after police say a group of juveniles ransacked the business and attacked the owner.

"This is the first time that happen like that in my whole life," Mohammad Hossain said. "This is unbelievable."

Hossain spoke only with CBS News Philadelphia as he recovers at home. He says the swelling in his eye has gone down but worries about the growing violence. The next time could be worse.

"It's shame," Hossain said. "I'm feeling like that you know. It's very shame."

Police say about 20 juveniles stormed into the store around 6 p.m. Tuesday went behind the counter, stole about $500 in tobacco products and when Hossain tried to stop them, he was punched in the face.

"We're thinking about should we hire a bodyguard?" Denise White said. "Just someone to stand in the store for us to feel safe."

White now keeps mace at her register. She works inside Cosi, a sandwich shop next door to where Hossain was attacked.

"We choose to close our store at 3:00 p.m. so I can get home safe and the rest of the people can get home safe," White said.

The safety measures come after police say a 33-year-old woman was also violently beaten by eight young suspects near 15th and Chestnut on February 23. She was knocked to the ground, stomped on, and left unconscious.

Two weeks before that, another attack near Rittenhouse Square. Police say in that case, the victim was pushed to the ground and violently kicked at 18th and Addison.

Hossain says closing early isn't an option for his family but he does plan on increasing security.

Police say detectives are still working on identifying the suspects behind these attacks and they're also looking into whether these incidents are possibly connected.

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