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Multiple stores looted in Philadelphia as police crack down

Beauty supply store in Mayfair trying to rebuild after looting
Beauty supply store in Mayfair trying to rebuild after looting 03:06

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A day after looting in Philadelphia resulted in just over 60 arrests and damage at stores in multiple neighborhoods, a few more stores were damaged in looting incidents Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Philadelphia police say there were eight looting incidents reported overnight. That number includes a Fine Wine and Good Spirits liquor store in Lawndale and a beauty supply store in Mayfair. A nightclub near the liquor store in Lawndale was also damaged. The owner said windows were broken but nothing was taken.

Police say five of the looting incidents were in the Northeast Police Division, two were in the Northwest Police Division and one was in the East Police Division. Six arrests have been reported.

At Nat's Beauty Supply in Mayfair, surveillance video showed a group of people, mostly women, breaking through the glass front door and taking items including hair extensions, weaves and wigs.

One of the women was wielding a tire iron.

A short time after breaking in, the videos show the group running out with armfuls of merchandise.

Surveillance video from a nearby business shows people who looted Nat's Beauty Supply in Tacony. Submitted video

Owner Claudia Silmeas opened the store just six months ago and is devastated. She had just restocked the shelves before thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was taken overnight.

"It's just me doing everything, I don't know what to think, I don't know who to call," Silmeas said. "It's just a lot right now."

Silmeas plans to keep the store open Thursday.

"Everything is still missing. I don't see where or how I'm going to get any help," Silmeas said. "I still got to have to be open because I need the money. I need the money to fix whatever is broken."

Surveillance video from inside the store showed a group breaking the glass in the front door and stepping inside. Nat's Beauty Supply/CBS News Philadelphia

Silmeas started in the beauty industry before she moved from Haiti to the U.S.

"Sad, heartbroken. I feel like I was just doing all of this hard work in vain ... that's just how I feel right now," Silmeas said.

Throughout the morning and early afternoon Thursday, the Department of License & Inspections boarded up the broken front door, while a representative from the city's Department of Commerce were on hand to help too, explaining assistance programs.

Silmeas added neighbors also offered to help clean up and donate money.

"I really appreciate that. I have no words think he was not enough because I really, really need it right now," Silmeas said.

She's hoping the support continues as she looks to rebuild her business.

"Nothing is not enough. Like anything would help right now. Anything -- whatever they can do to help," Silmeas said.

"Mayfair got hit, but we're going to survive," Executive Director Donny Smith of the Mayfair Business Improvement District said.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Smith said Mayfair has gotten hit by looting five different times. 

"We pulled up we saw the store, the door was smashed in, the tv was ripped off the wall, the doors were kicked in," said Nathan Kriegler, who is the co-owner of City Motors of Philadelphia across the street from Nat's Beauty Supply.

The business had not even officially opened for operations yet when Kriegler said seven cars were taken off his lot. He noticed the cars were missing when he pulled up Wednesday morning after widespread looting across the city.

Kriegler said cars, keys, titles and electronics were taken and now he's out $300,000.

"Hopefully we get the cars back. This is going to be a speed bump and we're going to keep moving forward," Kriegler said.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Philadelphia Police noted three of the stolen cars were recovered.

"It sucks. It's horrible that it happened here. It's horrible that I happened to our other businesses owners, but it's not something that you should be scared to come to Mayfair over," Smith said.

That is the plan for both businesses. City Motors of Philadelphia is working to soon host its grand opening.

"We're not going to let one little thing like this interrupt what we had planned," Kriegler said.

Looting follows judge dismissing charges in death of Eddie Irizarry in Philadelphia

The looting Tuesday and Wednesday nights followed a Philadelphia judge's dismissal of all charges, including a murder count, against former Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial.

Dial was charged after surveillance and body camera videos showed him shooting Eddie Irizarry in Kensington.

The District Attorney's Office has refiled the charges

Liquor store looted after closures as precaution against looting

Liquor stores have been a common target of looters, with at least 18 in Philadelphia hit in the first night of looting.

All liquor stores in Pennsylvania are run by the Liquor Control Board, which elected to close all locations in Philadelphia and one in Montgomery County Wednesday.

One of those shuttered liquor stores was hit by looters on Wednesday night. Windows were broken at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits store on Adams Avenue and merchandise was missing from several shelves.

The Fine Wine & Good Spirits store on Adams Avenue in Lawndale. All state-run liquor stores in the city and 1 in Montgomery County were closed after looters hit at least 18 locations. This location was hit after the closures were put in place. CBS News Philadelphia

That store is one of nine liquor stores in the city remaining closed "until further notice" after incidents of looting this week.

Philadelphia police said nearly 80 incidents of looting happened across the city overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Sporting goods stores, a Foot Locker, a GameStop, a medical marijuana dispensary and a streetwear business were among the shops hit.

Center City was quieter Wednesday night as police were out in force and businesses cleaned up shards of broken glass.

Social media playing key role

Investigators said social media has played such a key role in a rash of looting this week in Philadelphia.  

Both for criminals and for the police trying to catch them. 

At the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center in South Philly, the Philadelphia Police Department is monitoring public social media posts to try to stay ahead of these large criminal meetups. 

They've been instrumental this week as police look to stay ahead of looters who have ransacked stores across the city. 

Investigators said they believe the looters are using social media to organize. Many of them are even livestreaming themselves in the act. But law enforcement wants these people to know they are watching – many times even before these criminals hit the street.

Philadelphia looting aftermath: Small business owners impacted 02:32

On Thursday night, police said a total of 61 people were arrested after the looting incidents. 

They range in ages from 14-50 years old. Most of the charges are for burglary and theft. Nine people have been charged with inciting a riot.

An influencer known as "Meatball," 21-year-old Dayjia Blackwell, was charged for her alleged role in multiple incidents of property destruction, burglary, and theft from businesses in seven different locations throughout the city, according to police. 

She is alleged to have used her social media following to encourage people to participate in criminal activities in those locations. Police said she has been charged with burglary, conspiracy, criminal trespass, riot, criminal mischief, criminal use of communication facility, receipt of stolen property and disorderly conduct.

Police are still investigating other incidents.  

How to get assistance if impacted by looting

The City of Philadelphia's Department of Commerce said it's assisting about 50 businesses impacted.

"For them to have to experience something like this which frankly is a result of a cheap thrill. It's just completely disheartening for all of us," City of Philadelphia's Commerce Director Anne Nadal, said.

The commerce department said it is working around the clock to help business owners get back on their feet. Impacted business owners may be eligible for different programs, including an Emergency Relief Grant which is administered through the Merchants Fund, Storefront Improvement Program and the Business Security Camera Program.

"We kind of relaxed the requirements a little bit because we understand and we fully understand what they need is right now," Salim Wilson, senior director commercial coordinator improvements with the department of commerce said.

This story has been updated to reflect the number of stores that were confirmed to be looted overnight and updated the location of Nat's Beauty Supply to Mayfair.

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